This is a great idea. Amateur adult musicians abound, but most do not have viable outlets for playing with others. Community orchestras offer little opportunity for individual players to "shine".
John Oberbrunner, who retired as principal flutist with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra in 1994, has become chief matchmaker for Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music’s “dating service” of sorts.
Professional and amateur musicians, adults only, are invited to make music with new partners for the sheer enjoyment of performing chamber music. Potential players fill out a questionnaire with their preferences — size of grouping (duet to octet), availability (weekly to monthly) and self-evaluation of musicianship.
Clarinet player Bruce Keplinger lists many reasons for signing up with Oberbrunner.
“It really comes down to motivation. I find it real difficult to play in a vacuum,” he says.
Keplinger explains that unlike the piano, few full-length compositions exist solely for the clarinet. He welcomes the opportunities to work at and focus on his technique and join fellow musicians.
“I have goals for myself that are not easily fulfilled by casual playing, and I like to play more challenging music, and that really does require some period of study before I can actually do it well, says Keplinger, who is a communications assistant with the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board.
Tom McKay is a professor of philosophy at Syracuse University and plays the clarinet professionally. He has performed with the Bear Cat Jass Band, Stan Colella Orchestra, SSO and Central New York Jazz Orchestra. He also is a member of the Lake Effect Winds and the Highland Winds.
McKay describes music as “one of my key activities” and looks forward to future performances with new musicians. He’s also ready to use his recent purchase, an A clarinet.
“It can be fun to get together with people and perform,” he says.