Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Established 1885

The Washburn Review

William Cason explores his love and passion for music at Washburn

William Cason is a senior music performance major, with a focus on clarinet performance, who plans to graduate this May. He performed his senior clarinet recital March 21 at 7:30 p.m. in White Concert Hall. (Alijah McCracken)

On Thursday, March 21, at 7:30 p.m., clarinet student William Cason showed off his clarinet skills at his senior recital in White Concert Hall.

He was born in Loveland, Colorado, but he calls the small town of Carbondale, Kansas, home. Cason is a senior music performance major with a focus on clarinet performance. He originally studied advanced systems technology at Washburn Tech, but decided to study music performance at Washburn University because he felt it was a better fit. This year, he was elected as the vice president of the Washburn Piano Organ Society and was part of the Washburn Wind Ensemble for all four years.

Professor of applied clarinet Larkin Sanders was Cason’s clarinet instructor at Washburn University. She met Cason at Santa Fe Trail High School in Carbondale, Kansas, where she would visit from time to time.

She owns Kansas City-based business “Clever Clarinetist” where she sells clarinets, clarinet parts, sheet music, apparel designs, private lessons and more. She also runs her own music festival and is the third bass and E-flat clarinetist in the Topeka Symphony Orchestra.

“When I was a graduate student at Michigan State University getting my master’s degree, I started a music festival,” Sanders said. “I was always encouraged by my teachers to seek out my own opportunities. That’s something I try to [impact] on my students today.”

Sanders assisted Cason in preparing for his senior recital. The steps for preparing a recital are very time-consuming and usually done about a year in advance. According to Sanders, Cason started practicing for his senior recital around October.

The first step involves choosing and preparing the solo music. He was required to choose program works from at least three different time periods, which included the 19th century, 20th century and contemporary. Sanders gave Cason guidance on choosing appropriate music for the recital, but Cason ultimately chose all of the music he performed.

“I like to allow my students to do their programming on their own for things like their recitals and juries because, in the real world, that’s how it’s done,” Sanders said.

The next step is to create promotional material. About two weeks before the performance, Cason hung posters all over Garvey Hall, created a program with a list of songs and composers, created social media posts and invited friends and family by word of mouth. Before he could post things around campus, Cason had to pass a recital jury, which consists of three music faculty that makes sure he is ready for a public recital.

Cason showcases his promotional material for his senior recital, which includes programs with all the pieces he performed and posters all over Garvey Hall. Professor of Applied Clarinet, Larkin Sanders, assisted Cason in preparing his recital. (Alijah McCracken)

The final step is preparing the stage for the performance. White Concert Hall was booked at 5 p.m. and Brock Martin, facilities and systems technician II, set up the lighting and curtains, designed the walls to help with sound projection and did a sound check with Cason to make sure the recording of the event was ready.

“He [Martin] also recorded the recital for me and live streamed it on Facebook, which was important to me because I have a lot of friends who couldn’t make it that I would’ve liked for them to be there but at least they were able to attend virtually,” Cason said.

The list of musical pieces that Cason performed included “Sonata for Two Clarinets (B flat and A)” by Francis Poulenc, “Sonata for A Clarinet and Piano” by Alice Mary Smith, “Capriccio No. 1” by Ante Grgin, “Calcipher (E flat and piano)” by Theresa Martin, “Ballade (bass)” by Eugene Bozza, and “Premiere Rhapsodie” by Claude Debussy.

Cason picked these pieces because some were more lyrical than others and he wanted to find a good balance between the pacing of each song. Since Sanders has a specialty in auxiliary instruments, Cason was encouraged to perform with multiple clarinets with her help.

“[I thought] he played really well; [he was] really well prepared,” Sanders said. “He’d been working on it for so many months, so it was no surprise to me that he was prepared, and I think that was also reflected in his cool demeanor onstage as well.”

Cason started learning piano two years ago as it was required for his degree. In his junior year, he started taking one-on-one lessons with Lucy Tan, lecturer of music.

According to Tan, most of the students who study piano at Washburn took piano lessons when they were very young. Despite his lack of experience, Cason really excelled during his two years in group piano classes and became even more successful when he worked individually with Tan.

During her teachings, Tan helped Cason build up his techniques and interpretation of the music as well as his knowledge of piano performance.

“I saw something very extraordinary in his ability. He was able to learn pretty advanced pieces on his own, but I knew that he needed extra guidance to reach his goals,” Tan said. “So, I decided to take him into my studio and since then he has really progressed phenomenally.”

Tan has been working with Cason since he was a freshman. After learning enough repertoire on the piano, Cason decided to prepare for a recital with the help of Tan.

“It’s not by any means required for my degree, but something I just want to do because it’s fun and it takes a long time to learn, you know like a really really long time, and I think I’ve made a lot of progress in two years,” Cason said.

His piano recital is Friday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Carole Chapel at Washburn University.

After he graduates, Cason plans to pursue a master’s degree at Arizona State University. A month ago, he traveled to ASU to audition for the master’s program with Associate Professor of Clarinet Joshua Gardener. Cason considers him one of the best clarinetists he knows and even had a short lesson with him.

“I think pursuing my master’s and studying underneath him is really gonna help me hone in and refine my abilities so that it’s possible for me to get an orchestra job because those types of jobs are extremely, extremely competitive and cutthroat,” Cason said.

“I’m very proud of William,” Sanders said. “He’s definitely come a long way from the time I met him in high school till now, and I’m excited to see him spread his wings and fly.”

Cason plans to graduate this May with a bachelor’s in music performance. He wants to pursue a full-time orchestra job in the future.

Edited by Morgan Albrecht and Jayme Thompson

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Alijah McCracken
Alijah McCracken, Copy Editor / Photographer
I am an Art History major and Museum and Curatorial Studies minor. My role in student media is copy editor and photographer.
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