Bittersweet ending of note for quartet

Contreras is defeated at national show.
Sunday, March 25, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:03 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

When the nation’s top three chamber ensembles were announced Friday night at the Music Teachers National Association competition, MU’s Contreras Sax Quartet wasn’t one of them.

The competition, held at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto, was instead won by four other saxophonists: the Equinox Sax Quartet, which represented Florida State University. Second place was awarded to Cincinnati’s Trio Lunaire, a piano trio that featured a violin, a cello and — of course — a piano. The Oklahoma State University Trombone Quartet came in third.

“We were disappointed, but we’re getting over it quickly,” said Adam Camey, Contreras’ tenor saxophonist. “We’re disappointed we didn’t win, but not with our performance.”

The group, composed of two undergraduate and two graduate students at MU, had been working toward the performance since July. They formed in January 2005 and now, two years later, are uncertain of their group’s future.

Camey, who is a music performance major, has another year left before completing his undergraduate program. The group’s soprano saxophonist, Neil Ostercamp, also has another year left in school to complete his graduate degree.

But Matt Kendrick, an ac­count­ancy major and the group’s baritone saxophonist, has said he will no longer be involved with music during his upcoming fifth and likely final year of school.

Eric Jankowski, Contreras’ alto saxophonist, will graduate in May.

If Friday marked Contreras’ last performance, its four players said they were glad to have ended it on the note they did.

“I’m totally satisfied,” Ostercamp said. “We couldn’t have played any better.”

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