A love of music brought a disparate group of people together this spring to form a club that many thought was noticeably absent. The fledgling group, which recently was granted official approval from the Wilson College Government Association, was inspired by an email from Dr. Jose Cordova, professor of Spanish, asking whether anyone on campus would be interested in an instrumental music club.
“He got more interest than he thought he would,” said club president Allie Shastay, a junior majoring in biology. “It sort of took on a life of its own,” added Jeffrey Montwicki, an adult student majoring in veterinary medical technology and serving as the club’s secretary.
Cordova’s inquiry tapped into an underlying interest among many students who played instruments growing up, but had no music outlet at Wilson.
“I just wanted to play my clarinet more,” said club vice president Lindsey Sutton, a freshman who’s played since 5th grade. “I wanted to be in a group where I could just play and have fun with it.”
Shastay, whose instrument is the alto saxophone, played in concert, marching and jazz band in high school. “Whenever I started at Wilson, a band was one of the biggest things I wanted,” she said. “When Jose suggested this, I jumped on it.”
The students are facing considerable obstacles, including the lack of a conductor, people to play certain instruments, and coordinated sheet music, but they are cheerily taking any growing pains in stride.
For now, the group meets one evening a week in the dining hall, according to Shastay, whose grandfather is her inspiration. “We have a short meeting and then introduce material to each other.”
Students typically separate to practice parts and then come together in smaller groups to see if they can play a composition together. “It’s organized chaos – and I mean that in the best possible way,” said guitarist Montwicki.
Sometimes by fortuitous coincidence, several students have sheet music for the same song. Other times, they try to make it work without written music. And there are other options, including free music available online.
“The library also has sheet music, but it’s not organized,” Shastay said. “We have access to resources. It’s just a matter of getting it started.”
The group planned to put on a concert before the spring semester’s end, but ran out of time, according to club adviser Cordova, who said Wilson graduate Gloria Massa ’47, a retired music teacher, has been volunteering as a conductor.
Cordova said the group is seeking donations of instruments and hopes to be able to present a concert next fall.
All are welcome to join the club. Percussionists and brass players are especially needed.
The ability to create a new club or organization is one of the opportunities offered to students at Wilson College.