UI Trumpet Studio to Present Unique Holiday Performance, ‘Inside Out’


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Members of Trumpet Studio will play holiday music – learned by ear without sheet music – with an open seating arrangement for performers and members of the public in the Voxman Opera Studio.


The University of Iowa Trumpet Studio will be giving their annual holiday concert this Friday, experiencing performances in a unique way.

Members of Trumpet Studio learned each holiday song by ear, with no sheet music provided. Performers can perform their pieces anywhere in the Opera Studio of the Voxman Music Building. Performers can play their music seated in courtroom chairs, lying on the floor, or standing behind a curtain, wherever the music takes them, said Amy Schendel, director of Trumpet Studio.

Members of the public are also encouraged to sit or stand where they are comfortable in the Opera Studio. There will be no space reserved for members of the public or artists for the concert, Schendel said.

“The goal of this performance structure is to break away from the traditional concert format and experience a completely free way of playing and listening to a concert,” said Schendel.

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Last year, the Trumpet Studio was unable to perform the holiday concert due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Auditions for the studio ended online this year, according to Sara Lyons, a member of Trumpet Studio, a first-year trumpet major and a member of a concert orchestra at the School of Music.

Lyons said the Trumpet Studio has a fun, community feel to it.

“It’s a good balance between what we have to do, like what we are supposed to do, and how everyone supports each other,” she said.

Lyons said the concert challenged ideas of performance anxiety.

“It’s about controlling your environment,” she said. “If you can control the environment you’re playing in it might be less stressful.”

Lyons will play a duet for the concert, but has yet to decide whether to play “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” or “All I Want for Christmas is You”.

Joanna Leston, a freshman music and trumpeter education student, said the upcoming performance posed new challenges to her melodic dictation skills. In melodic dictation, music is learned by listening to a piece of music and transcribing the melody into written music.

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Leston will play “Feliz Navidad” in duet with another member of Trumpet Studio.

“I’m now looking for recordings on YouTube and listening to much more complicated online recordings is really testing my abilities, but I think I’ve been holding the pitch pretty well so far,” Leston said.

Leston said she was glad they had some creative freedom and collectively questioned the traditional performance structure for the next gig.

“I find music a great way to connect with others on a different level, and I really enjoy playing with others. And the studio is a great group of people, and so I feel really lucky to be able to really share this, as a human experience with others, ”said Leston.

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