MU Bassoon Ensemble plays Christmas tunes at retirement center

Monday, December 8, 2008 | 7:48 p.m. CST; updated 1:36 p.m. CST, Tuesday, December 9, 2008
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The MU Bassoon Ensemble, directed by professor Rodney Ackmann, performed an arrangement of 30 classic Christmas carols for the residents at Boone Landing Retirement Center late Monday afternoon. The audience sang along and found the concert to be an enjoyable experience. Students in the bassoon ensemble said that if invited again, they would be happy to play for residents next year as well.

COLUMBIA — Instruments resembling stove pipes, made of rich wood and over nine feet tall, produced both mellow and bouncy Christmas melodies for the residents at the Boone Landing Retirement Center on Monday afternoon.

The MU Bassoon Ensemble, with a repertoire of 30 popular Christmas songs, filled the atrium with sounds ranging throughout the instrument’s four octaves, with the lowest sounding like a deep ship horn. The wide range allowed for a surprising and pleasing concert.


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“I had no idea a bassoon could sound like this. It was wonderful. Just beautiful stuff,” said Gwen Neri, a resident at the retirement center. “I thought this was going to be a big loud thing. But it was really quite lovely. I enjoyed the whole thing."

Rodney Ackmann, an assistant professor of bassoon and music appreciation, planned the concert. He said he thought it seemed like a nice thing to do during this time of the year. Ackmann hoped that the event would be simple, fun and enjoyable for the residents. “I think we just wanted to do something off campus to spread some holiday cheer,” Ackmann said.

The nine students in the bassoon ensemble played familiar songs such as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "The First Noel" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" while the audience sang along. Residents of the retirement center had nothing but praise for the concert and the musicians.

“(It was) a brand new experience, and it was fun. It was fun to see the students do this,” Trij Brietzke said. “It was fun to try to sing along with them.”

The students in the ensemble said the concert was a wonderful experience and that if invited, they would be more than happy to play for the residents again next year.

“We’re glad they were able to come, and we appreciate that very much,” Elmer Mueller said.

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