Quintet going strong after 20 years

December 11, 2008|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

It was more than 20 years ago, that five chums decided to form a wind quintet, thinking they'd do a show here and there.

But that didn't happen. The Appalachian Wind Quintet has been going strong ever since, doing more and more shows, said Barbara Spicher, the quintet's flutist.

In keeping with tradition, the Appalachian Wind Quintet will perform at the Festival of Lights Saturday at Rest Haven Funeral Chapel & Cemetery in Hagerstown.

"The Appalachian Wind Quintet has been coming here for years," Brown said.

It's a holiday celebration for people hoping to honor loved ones who have passed away, said Rest Haven's owner Charles Brown. Brown said the quintet will start playing Christmas music at 3 p.m. After the concert, families will head to the cemetery for a candle ceremony at 4 p.m.


Though its name might suggest otherwise, the Appalachian Wind Quintet specializes in classical music. "We don't do any folk tunes," Spicher said. "We don't play banjos or dulcimers."

The quintet is composed of a flutist, an oboe player, clarinet player, bassoonist and French horn player. They met each while in school and as they played in other ensembles, Spicher said.

"We all wanted to have an outlet," said Spicher, who teaches flute at Hood College, and teaches at Mercersburg Academy and for the preparatory division at Shepherd University.

In addition to performing with regional chamber music ensembles, Spicher is principal flutist with the Mercersburg Chorus and Orchestra and with the Shippensburg University Festival Chamber Orchestra. She also performs with the Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

She is the former executive director of the Washington County Arts Council in Hagerstown and is the former operations manager for Shepherd University's music department.

Q&A with Barbara Spicher of Appalachian Wind Quintet

You all have been together for quite a while. For any music configuration, be it a rock band or a classical configuration, that's no easy feat. How'd you guys do it?

We stayed together so many years due to the Washington County Arts Council. They supported a five-concert series. All of us are busy musicians, but that kept us together.

Other musicians I've interviewed who've been in bands that had a steady place to play, say that sometimes that wasn't enough. What about chemistry? Does chemistry have anything to do with it?

It certainly does. Our personalities mesh. We're very serious when we get together. We don't chit-chat.

So, what's the repertoire like for wind quintets?

It's varied and it's quite broad, actually. It starts in the classical period and then goes on. There's 20th-century work more than anything. There's quite a nice combination of colors. Individual instruments can be virtuosic and they can have a nice blend.

You will be playing holiday music at Rest Haven. Given the context of the event, do you guys think of it differently than if you were playing a holiday concert at The Maryland Theatre?

Not really, because for the people who are there, they are there to enjoy the music. So, I do not look at it differently.

As a musician, do you think music can have a therapeutic quality? Especially at an event like Festival of Lights. Do you think that music can make a person feel better?

If I had that effect on someone, I would be thrilled. As a musician, to be able to touch someone, that's what we strive to do.

Appalachian wind quintet

Genre - Classical

Hometown - Tri-State region

Flute - Barbara Spicher

Oboe - Ed Stanley

Clarinet - Rick Mogensen

Bassoon - Scott Cassada

French horn - Ed Schupp

Upcoming performances -Festival of Lights, 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, Rest Haven Funeral Chapel & Cemetery, 1601 Pennsylvania Ave., Hagerstown. Free.

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