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The Lookout | August 21, 2014

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Classical music makes its return to Dart stage

Classical music makes its return to Dart stage
bozackj

Sarah Spohn
A&E Editor

While most Spartan fans were throwing some brews back and catching the MSU vs. U of M game, music fans were drawn to Dart Auditorium for a treat of their own.

LCC music professor Jonathon Gewirtz was joined on stage by his sister Stephanie for a classical saxophone and piano recital March 16.

Usually performing with his fellow jazz faculty members, or one of his many weekend funk bands, Gewirtz switched it up a bit and returned to classical music. Gewirtz received his master’s in saxophone performance from MSU.

The refreshing recital began with Fantasia, written by Hector Villa-Lobos. Next up was Six Studies in English Folk Song written by Ralph Vaughan William, originally written for the cello.

Before mastering the soprano and alto saxophone, Gewirtz learned about music at a young age. He began piano lessons in the first grade and moved onto the sax in middle school. He spoke about why he chose classical music for this recital.

“It’s what I studied in school, and privately,” Gewirtz said.

“I grew up doing the solo and ensemble in middle school and went onto college, first getting a degree in musical education. Classical music is usually what you study,”Gewitz added.

The pair chose some of their favorite classical songs, composed by Vierne, Rueff and Lantier, to close out the recital. Both MSU graduates, the brother/sister duo have been performing together on and off for 15 years.

While classical music is the content of their college education, Gewirtz admits to not playing it that often.

“We go through long stretches of not performing it, or at least putting on a recital,” Gewirtz said.

“We perform occasionally one or two pieces here or there, but to do a full recital like this, we don’t do that often – like every four or five years.”Gewirtz added.

A similar recital of Stephanie Gewirtz was also performed last month at Hillsdale College, where Jon Gewirtz is also a professor.

At LCC, Gewirtz teaches jazz band, private lessons, music appreciation and a class on the history of rock’n’roll.

For those music fans who aren’t too keen on classical, this LCC professor can be found at the Green Door playing with his funk band, Summer of Sol, on the weekends.

While he plays everything from rock, funk, soul, jazz, classical and even salsa, Gewirtz said he enjoyed returning back to his classical roots for the recital.

“It’s always rewarding and challenging to do it,” Gewirtz said.

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