Wind ensemble performs at White Concert Hall

Regina Budden

The Washburn University wind ensemble held a performance at White Concert Hall last Friday, with a slight twist: the ensemble exchanged its usual director, Norman Gamboa, for Robert Meunier, the director of bands at Drake University.

Meunier has a great deal of experience in all kinds of music, and has recorded with such artists as the Temptations, the Smothers Brothers and Roger Williams. He is also a respected consultant for music education, and is highly sought after as a guest conductor.

Gamboa also presented the audience with a pleasant surprise by showing up as part of the ensemble, playing in the brass section.

Meunier said he enjoyed the time he took all week visiting the university’s music classrooms and sharing his views on music education. Although he said little, Meunier was well received by the crowd during the concert.

“It’s great that Washburn University is reaching out like this, by having a guest conductor,” said Taryn Doty, a freshman music major who was attending the concert for class.

“I think that conductor is marvelous the way he does his hands. He’s so graceful,” said Christina Brennan-Rezac, of St. Marys. She came to see her grandson, Travis Mott, perform in the trumpet section of the ensemble, and said the crowd was smaller than she had imagined it would be. Washburn, she said, always has good entertainment.

Jan Morris, a Topeka resident, also attended the concert for an ensemble participant. Jakob Rostik, another trumpet player, is living at Morris’ house this semester.

“This was a very good program. The music was wonderful, and the students were working hard,” said Morris. “It was really interesting to watch Norman playing in the body instead of up front leading everyone. But he wasn’t listed in the program.”