TAMU-CC music department holds safe and socially distanced music festival


Vashti Rosa

The woodwind quartet performs both classical and modern pieces with bassoons in the Hector P. Garcia Plaza.

Vashti Rosa, Reporter

The Hector P. Garcia Plaza was filled with the sounds of classical music on Oct. 1, an unexpected treat for many students. The TAMU-CC music department had just wrapped up the fourth annual Sound Waves contemporary music festival, keeping in mind the safety of students and participants as well as paving the way for future events on campus.

The Sound Waves events kicked off on Oct.1, featuring composers of Eastern Europe and the students performing their work. The events were held in both the Performing Arts Center and the Hector P. Garcia Plaza, and boasted the works of California composer and conductor Jenni Brandon. Brandon was invited to take part in the festivities by hosting two master classes for students and was able to attend from California and teach via WebEx. “This is a great thing right now, being able to participate even though I was not able to physically be there,” said Brandon, “I was able to watch the concerts via YouTube and teach face-to-face online and be part of it that way.”

Associate Professor of Cello, Carrie Pierce, was instrumental in hosting the festival and was present at the performances at Garcia Plaza. Pierce explained how the department is working with the new guidelines in place and is thriving despite having to scale down the events. “We wanted to have a festival that could be moved around campus; the pandemic made us move outdoors but we’ve been able to work with that,” Pierce said, “We came up with the idea of having multiple day performances that our students could participate in and we also wanted to include living composers.”

Third year student Brandon Morin has been a part of the music department for the past four semesters and is the recipient of the Islander Brass Quintet full tuition scholarship. Morin was one of the many talented students who performed at the Sound Waves events and gave some insight into what preparing for these events was like in the midst of a pandemic. “It certainly took a lot of time and practice, not only from me but for all the musicians who had performed throughout the week,” said Morin, “Social distancing didn’t make rehearsals difficult, it just made them different from what we were used to; before COVID, ensembles used to be larger with more people performing together but now, the music department has limited ensemble sizes to make sure students stay safe and distanced.”

The Sound Waves festival is a testament to how life and art can move forward as normal on campus, provided some adjustments take place. The TAMU-CC music department has several free upcoming events, including performances by faculty members. Concerts are live steamed and can be viewed after the event on the department’s YouTube channel.

Two cellists prepare to follow up the woodwind quartet in the Garcia Plaza. (Vashti Rosa)