Woodwinds share love of music in Mother’s Day concert – Sioux Falls Argus Leader
“Music gives a soul to the universe,
wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination,
and life to everything.”
Sharing her love of music is a heartening task for Sharon Lehmann, who belongs to several musical groups in town.
Conceiving an ensemble group was a natural progression of her passion. High Plains Woodwinds, a local ensemble, was born to give a voice to that joy.
With the kernel of an idea, Lehmann, a clarinetist, began recruiting people for the ensemble two years ago.
Brass players have had an avenue in Sioux Empire Brass for many years, says High Plains Woodwinds director Bob Goheen. “We thought it would be fun to mimic the brass on the woodwind side to give woodwind players a chance to play chamber music.”
It wasn’t hard to find musicians willing to play in the group — Lehmann contacted people she had played with before. It wasn’t even difficult to find a director. Goheen was well-suited as a recently retired band director at Brandon Valley High School and a longtime music educator.
But finding music for woodwinds was difficult. “You can find music for strings or brass,” but for woodwinds, not so much, Lehmann says.
Woodwinds include flutes, clarinets, saxophones, bassoons and oboes. All but flutes are reed instruments. Woodwinds produce a softer sound than brass instruments and are more technically challenging to play, Goheen says.
“The first concert was made up of music borrowed from the high schools,” he says. Since then, “I’ve scoured the Internet and any other source to find music. If I find it, we’re going to play it.”
They also have been getting help from Earl Sherburne, a musician and music director at Augustana College. “He has written plays and has been transcribing and writing music for woodwinds,” Lehmann says.
The group has a simple philosophy: “We like to play a wide variety of music,” Goheen says. “We have never played two pieces by the same composer.” They perform selections from the Rennaisance through modern day, and concerts have included compositions by Mozart and John Williams, from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
The group has 23 musicians, suitable to make a grand sound en masse yet able to break into smaller groups.
“We have a wonderfully complete instrumentation in the ensemble. We have all of the parts covered,” Goheen says.
Participants come from all over the area including Sioux Falls, Brandon, Tea, Lennox, Crooks, Garretson and Jasper, Minn.
“There are varied backgrounds,” says Ona Reker, a flutist from Jasper. Their diversity is a strong point. Each person is an accomplished musician on his or her own, she says. Many have busy careers, some are retired and some are just starting their families, yet they are united in their passion for music.
“There’s something wonderful about being a member of a group,” Reker says. “You can accomplish things so much bigger than you can on your own. You bring your gifts together, and it’s exciting.”
The group rehearses every week from September through May and gives two formal concerts, one in late November and one in the spring.
“Music is so important. It’s something you can do for the rest of your life,” Lehmann says. “We love to play music and love to perform. We really appreciate it when we have a large audience to enjoy it with us.”
“The goal is to touch more and more lives with beautiful woodwind music,” Goheen says.
If you go
• What: High Plains Woodwinds’ Mother’s Day concert
• When: 2 p.m. May 11
• Where: Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 909 W. 33rd St.
• Admission: Freewill offering