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Musical teamwork with the Interlochen Arts Academy Guitar Ensemble

 Interlochen Arts Academy guitar ensemble
Interlochen Public Radio
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Interlochen Arts Academy guitar ensemble. From left: Wesley Patterson, Bonham Geller, Ally Waddell, Samuel Watsham and Juan Jaimes

Interlochen Arts Academy guitar students Bonham Geller, Juan Jaimes, Wesley Patterson, Ally Waddell and Samuel Watsham performed music by Andrew York and Ólafur Arnalds

Classical IPR recently took Studio A on location to the Music Center at Interlochen Center for the Arts.

There, we heard from five students in the Interlochen Arts Academy guitar studio.

The musicians are Bonham Geller (U.S. Virgin Islands), Juan Jaimes (Colombia), Wesley Patterson (Alabama), Ally Waddell (Washington State) and Samuel Watsham (Texas).

They are students of Dr. Matthew Cochran.

Interlochen Arts Academy junior Juan Jaimes said that playing with an ensemble like this one can be a very different experience than playing as a soloist.

Working well with all of the individual members is crucial to the group's success.

"You have to know your ensemble, you have to trust your ensemble and you have to work with them," Jaimes explained. "It's all about the teamwork."

  Interlochen Arts Academy guitar ensemble
Interlochen Arts Academy guitar ensemble. From left: Wesley Patterson, Bonham Geller, Ally Waddell, Samuel Watsham and Juan Jaimes

The ensemble performed two pieces, "Happiness does not wait" by Ólafur Arnalds and "Lotus Eaters" by Andrew York.

Jaimes told us that playing "Lotus Eaters" is a lot of fun - pretty much what you might expect from a piece about the mythological creatures who live a hedonistic lifestyle.

"It's such a joyful piece," he said. "Whenever I hear it, I want to drop whatever I'm doing and dance to it."

Guitarist Bonham Geller
Interlochen Arts Academy
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Interlochen Arts Academy senior Bonham Geller performs his original composition "Bayahibe vitae"

Interlochen Arts Academy senior Bonham Geller then performed a solo piece of his own composition called "Bayahibe vitae."

The name is a combination of a tree (lignum vitae) and a flower (bayahibe) that are common in the Caribbean islands, including his native United States Virgin Islands.

Geller said he was inspired to write this piece after working with renowned composer Bill Banfield, who is a guest artist at Interlochen Arts Academy.

Guaiacum-sanctum-Lignum-vitae-scaled.jpg
Richard Lyons Nursery
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Lignum vitae (Guaiacum sanctum

The Interlochen Arts Academy guitar studio is presenting a recital Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Dendrinos Chapel and Recital Hall. Admission is free.

Stefan Wiebe engineered this edition of Studio A.

Dr. Amanda Sewell is IPR's music director.