Music Department faculty showcase talent


Professors Mathew Onstad and Chris Ramaekers play trumpet at the Music Mosaics Faculty Showcase Sept. 24 2022.

Anne Gernetzke, Arts and Recreation Assistant Editor

UW-Whitewater’s Department of Music faculty started the Music Mosaics season off on a high note with its faculty showcase in the Center of the Arts Light Recital Hall Sept. 24. Audience members were treated to instrumental and vocal performances featuring a wide variety of musical styles, from classical music to blues. 

The Music Mosaics concert series is not only a scholarship fundraiser for students, but an opportunity for students to see their faculty perform and share their love of music, according to Interim Department Chair Jeff Herriott. 

“When you think of a mosaic, you think of small pieces of tile that fit into a whole,” explained Herriott. “The faculty have wide-ranging interests and talents. The faculty showcase is one of the premiere events for the Fall because it involves everyone.” 

Herriott emphasized that the showcase demonstrates the caliber of the faculty in the Music Department. He said that the faculty not only care about the quality of their performances, flair, and precision, but perform around the region and all over the country.  

Dr. Christopher Ramaekers and Dr. Matthew Onstad, accompanied by pianist Dr. Karen Boe, opened the showcase with a trumpet duet called Concertino Classico by Joseph Horovitz. Ramaekers noted that the piece is a great way to open a concert because of its fanfare qualities. 

When asked about the Music Mosaics concert series, Ramaekers observed, “As students and professors, we think of the faculty primarily as teachers, which we take very seriously. But to us in the Music Department, our work as performers makes us effective teachers.”

The showcase also featured a performance of an original composition by faculty member Dr. Michael Hackett, who plays the trumpet and is the head of the Music Department’s Jazz Studies program. The piece, titled Esox Fables, was released as part of Hackett’s 2022 album Western Skies

“It is a blues piece,” said Hackett. “The title is a take on Aesop’s Fables, and ‘Esoxis part of the Latin name for a fish called a muskellunge.”

Voice Area Coordinator and mezzo-soprano Dr. Rachel Wood, who has performed in Canada, Italy, and the Netherlands, chose to sing a selection from Gabriel Fauré’s La bonne chanson, which is French for “the good song.” Wood performed the entire piece with the Madison Symphony Orchestra Rhapsody Quartet before the pandemic.

“The piece traces the journey of the speaker meditating on the name of their beloved through their anxious questioning, reflection, and then marriage and the future,” Wood said.

Wood shared that the Music Mosaics’ faculty performance not only shows the talents of the Music Department, but the wide variety of musical styles and types of ensembles that the organization offers audience members. 

Reflecting on her experience as a faculty member, Wood concluded, “It is such a joy to collaborate together and work on projects. This is what we train to do, what we enjoy, and what we love. It is always an honor to be able to share that with the campus community.”