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Crane students compete for chamber concert spot

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POTSDAM — The night began with the sound of harps as students from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music showed off their talent at the annual Chamber Music Competition.

Six groups performed Sunday night with a total of 26 students vying for a spot in next weekend’s chamber concert.

They played to a hall nearly empty save for a few faculty members, three of whom were judging their performance.

Harpists Mikaela R. Davis and Katherine S. Berquist started the show, playing an Indian-inspired piece meant to invoke feelings of meditation.

“It shows a different side of the harp,” Ms. Berquist said.

They took home third place at the end of the night.

The ensembles were judged on sound, style and ability to work as a group.

“Crane places a high value on quality performance,” said professor Carol Lowe, who organized the competition.

Each group performed for 15 minutes, with music selections ranging from the 18th century to the modern day.

The harpists were followed by a quartet of saxophonists.

“We’re going to do what we do, and we’ll see what happens,” said competitor Daniel Meadows.

The quartet won second place.

After the saxophonists, the event featured trumpets, trombones, horns and tubas, with four brass quintets wrapping up the performance.

Student ensembles of all sizes and ages are allowed to join the competition. Ms. Lowe said students will sometimes join an ensemble just to get a chance to compete.

“Something about our culture — people want to enter competitions and win them,” she said.

A pair of sophomores triumphed two years ago, Ms. Lowe remembered, surprising their older opponents.

The annual competition is one of the yearly highlights for Crane’s students.

“There’s only two competitions like this,” Ms. Davis said.

The Frackenpohl Honors Brass Quartet won over the judges, taking home first place.

The top three groups will play at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in Hosmer Hall.

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