By Verna Gibson, For The Bloc

District5 played at Busboys and Poets, surprising attendees with diverse sound and performance unique to the traditional woodwind quintet April 6.

Woodwind quintet District5 opened to nearly a full house, drawing a crowd through the combination of bassoon, oboe, flute, French horn and clarinet to cover a variety of music.

“I really love the music they played,” said Kaitlin Kang of Washington, D.C.  “I think it really fits the venue and the atmosphere.”

District5 is a University of Maryland graduate fellowship woodwind quintet, made up of David Young on bassoon; Laura Kaufman on flute; Laura Brisson on the French horn; Alison Lowell on oboe; and Nina Elhassan on the clarinet.

Young said the woodwind quintet has a lot of unique advantages over some of those other groups because “we’re five totally different instruments and the sounds that we can get.”

Performing for a diverse audience is important to the group, Young said. “We love being able to come out and perform in venues like this for a lot of people who wouldn’t necessarily go to the Clarice Smith Center for a concert,” Young said.

The different instruments allow the group to experiment on a range of songs.

Baltimore 1970s rocker Frank Zappa and modern day American composer and guitarist Evis Sammoutis are among the selections the quintet covers.

Bassoonist David Young said District5 aims to bring “young, vibrant and energetic; a sort of fresh face for classical music.”

The group selectively chose songs to entice audience members, Young said.

“We picked a program of high energy [and] fast music because we knew that would be engaging for the audience,” Young said, “and a surprise that you can get that kind of music out of a woodwind quintet.”

Not everything went perfectly. Doctoral candidate Lexi Bryant, studying musical arts at this university, attended the concert with Petra Hogan to show support for the group members.

Bryant said she found the sound system to be troublesome because of its small space.

“It was difficult to hear in Busboys and Poets because of the acoustics in the room,” Bryant said. Bryant went on to say, despite the acoustics, she still enjoyed the performance.

Students admitted into the master’s program competed among themselves to grab a spot in the quintet.

“It was almost like a reality TV show elimination day,” Young said.


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