By: Rebeka Porter
Dr. Christine Damm, assistant professor of music and director of the QU Hawk Express jazz band, started teaching at Quincy University in the spring semester of 2014. Damm worked part-time for one-and-a-half years before being moved to full-time last year.
Now Damm teaches music courses and all woodwind lessons at QU. She also directs the chamber woodwind ensembles and oversees the recordings of concerts.
Since spring of 2014, Damm has been hard at work at creating and building three performance groups in the band program. These groups include The 18th St. Trio, No Strings Attached saxophone quartet, and Reed Between the Lines clarinet quartet.
Each group performs at different QU functions throughout the year. A few of these include alumni dinners, retired faculty Christmas parties, the Christmas Tea, fundraising events, and baccalaureate Mass. The groups also travel to local high schools to recruit potential students for QU. Last year the members of each group traveled to St. Louis to perform for Catholic high schools.
This year, the groups traveled to Chicago to perform for Catholic high schools.
On October 12-14, all three groups travelled to Chicago to perform for Catholic High Schools. They performed at Benet Academy, Fenwick Catholic High School, IC Catholic Prep, St. Francis High School, Montini Catholic High School, and Hinsdale South High School.
“The QU musicians did an awesome job of representing the QU music program and performing. The band directors and high school students were very excited to listen to our groups,” said Damm.
The musicians in each group changes every year due to graduated students and the introduction of new ones.
Currently, the 18th St. Trio consists of Jacob Schumacher, Emily Cintron, and Rebecca McIsaac.
The No Strings Attached consists of Matthew Cornwell, Zachary Vanderbol, Ernest Baker, and Josh del Rosario.
The Reed Between the Lines is made up of Dr. Christine Damm, Emily Cintron, Miranda Guyer, and Marissa Bergstedt
“I wanted to give QU students the opportunities to perform in small ensembles. I also wanted to recruit more students into the music program and get students excited about performing. So far it’s working. This year I had four new clarinets, two new flutes, and a new saxophone player attend QU. I started the groups for a variety of reasons. First, I wanted to give the students a chance to perform chamber music. Playing in a chamber group is challenging and fun. It requires dedication and practice. Second, I wanted the QU community to know about what amazing music students we have here at QU,” said Damm.
Damm wants these groups to continue performing as a recruitment tool for QU. Additionally, she hopes the groups could get selected to perform at the Illinois Music Educators Association Convention next year. Her end goal is for the students to take a music tour of Germany and Austria.
Damm believes the greatest impact of creating these groups has been the building of camaraderie and pride in the woodwind studio. They make great music and are proud of their accomplishments.
“Sometimes when we are at schools performing, I can hardly believe that these students and ensembles are here because of this idea that I had. I am so proud of their hard work and dedication,” Damm said.
Damm doesn’t plan on increasing the size of the groups. Instead, she hopes to start a larger all-woodwind ensemble at some point during her time at QU. It might be a clarinet choir or mixed ensemble. The possibilities are endless.
The groups will be performing at local high schools in the month of November. In December they will be performing at the Christmas Tea and the QU retired faculty Christmas party.
If anyone wishes to find out more information regarding these groups, please contact Dr. Christine Damm at (217) 316-3518 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.