Looking at the UNCG performance calendar, you may notice the majority of events fall under music. Whether it’s vocal, orchestral or jazz, concerts can range from solo performances to large ensembles, such as the Symphonic Band or chamber music recitals. The music school at UNCG has performances going on almost everyday of the semester and is always there to provide a range of musical vocabulary for the students on campus. Participating and planning many of the performances is Dr. Kevin Geraldi, a conducting professor and conductor here at UNCG.
As the main conductor and overseer of rehearsals for the University Symphony Orchestra and the Symphonic Band, Dr. Geraldi also works closely with UNCG Wind Ensemble and Casella Sinfonietta performing groups. So far he has already conducted his ensembles in concert twice this semester, and has more concerts coming soon.
For those who do not know, a conductor is in charge of directing and guiding the players in a band or orchestra and they are also in charge of picking the concert program. In reference to the process of picking music, Dr. Geraldi likes to pick music that contains a certain “variety” to it. He explains his process like this, “…every piece will say something unique and different from other pieces.” Giving the students a wide range of experiences is very important to him. He also tries to choose music that is relevant to the students, whether socially or culturally. He also tends to chose music that is relevant from a pedagogical standpoint, as there is always value in the students learning and expanding their talents. He yearns to make the learning experience just as palpable for the students as their personal experiences. “Just like kids in a english class need to learn Shakespeare,” says Geraldi, “music kids need to learn Beethoven.”
Dr.Geraldi is also the director for the conducting program at UNCG. He teaches the graduate students in conducting along with some of the required conducting courses for undergraduates. Graduate conducting students also act as aides to the conductors at UNCG, as well as being expected to conduct their own pieces. When conducting, Dr. Geraldi strives for strong communication with his students. “I want to feel as if there is a dialogue going back and forth between me and the players.” The Symphonic Band has an “incredible variety” to it, with many unique sounds and voices. This dialogue between the conductor and the students is very important because it creates unity within the band.
A band or orchestra will spend three to five weeks in rehearsal for a concert. Most of the time rehearsals are every day of the week. The dedication of both the conductor and hard work of the students are what make the pay off so worth it when finally on stage. This past week Dr.Geraldi’s students got to experience playing with a world-class violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky, who joined the University Orchestra in concert. Dr. Geraldi said that it “was basically a masterclass for the students.” This kind of privilege and experience is exactly what Dr. Geraldi aims for. “I try to create opportunities for students to really experience a wide variety of music.” He states, “I want the students to be able to get something out of every opportunity we have.” The students also get to play with Lynn Harrell in December, who is one of the most celebrated cellist in the country.
For any students that want to go to a concert the performance calendar is available on the UNCG website. Dr.Geraldi’s Symphonic Band is performing October 5 at the UNCG Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. If you miss that one there will be another concert October 28. The Wind Ensemble will also be performing through October 20 and 21 in a two-part concert. The students and conductor work very hard to create music that exposes the audience to all types of sounds and experiences. Dr.Geraldi could not have put it better than this, “It’s important for students to know that pretty much everything is free. If they want to come out to something we would love to have more students at our concerts.” It is extremely beneficial to the music program and students to go and support them at their concerts. Feel encouraged to witness our fellow Spartans participate in their beloved craft, since they have worked so hard to create music for us to hear.