News - March 22, 2007

Sax sounds from your neighbour’s room?

If you like to make music, Wageningen offers several options for keeping in practice, without having to annoy your neighbours and corridor-mates by drumming on the pots in your kitchen. There is the WSKOV choir for those who want to sing, a number of student associations have bands and, moving up the scale, there are two orchestras and the Sounds of Science Big Band.

Ewert Aukes
De Ontzetting student orchestra is an easy place to meet other musicians. ‘I joined about eighteen months ago and I like the orchestra. There are about forty musicians, with a focus on wind instruments, but we play all kinds of musical styles,’ says Ewert Aukes, a German environmental studies student and chairman of the orchestra. ‘We are interested in attracting more international students. At the moment there are four of us, but it would be nice if we could find more enthusiastic students.’
Vit Kohout, a Czech consumer studies student, has been playing the clarinet in De Ontzetting for six months: ‘I saw an advertisement on a board in the university,’ Vit recalls. ‘I still play in a band in Prague and wanted to stay in training, so I was looking for a group where I could play my saxophone.’ But the orchestra was (and still is) looking for clarinet players so he decided to switch to clarinet. ‘After practising a few times I made the change. It was not so difficult as I started on the clarinet as a child. I really enjoy playing in our orchestra. We practise every Thursday in the Dreijenborch, but I try to play more often myself.’
Ewert: ‘When we have a performance coming up we usually rehearse more than once a week. I practise one hour every day in my room in Dijkgraaf. In the beginning I was a bit reluctant to play, but my corridor-mates told me it doesn’t disturb them, which is of course nice to hear.’ The orchestra gives an average of three bigger concerts and several smaller performances throughout the year, which provides an incentive to practise.
What about the level of playing in the orchestra? Did they find it difficult, or was it not high enough? ‘I had no problems with the level, but then I want to play and to have fun, so it doesn’t matter that the level is a little bit lower than I’m used to,’ says Vit. ‘Our conductor is quite happy at the moment, because our level of playing has improved a lot. We are playing more difficult songs now than when I started eighteen months ago. This is usually only possible when people do not have to switch instruments like Vit did, but he is so good he could handle it,’ says Ewert, grinning.