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Welcome to the Clarinet Choir News Page.  Given the popularity of this ensemble medium and the many ensembles operating throughout the world, this page provides for a special emphasis to learn about events and Festivals.  All such organizations are invited to submit important event information and Festivals to spread the interest and encourage more performance and composition.

Clarinet Choir News 2012


20 December 2012

Claribel Clarinet Choir from Oostend, Belgium Performs 20th Anniversary Concert at the MidWest Band & Orchestra Clinic with Soloists, and Director and Founder Guido Six is awarded Commendation from the International Music Educators Association

 Chicago, Illinois USA

              A Holiday lovefest honoring Guido Six, Founder and Director of the Claribel Clarinet Choir in Oostend, Belgium, performed a Seminar-Concert at the Annual MidWest Clinic with Soloists and past Associates from the International Clarinet Association - ICA, including Past Presidents and Officers Robert Spring (Arizona State University), Julia DeRoche (DePaul University), Howard Klug (Indiana University), and Julia Heinen (California State University at Northridge), several of whom are WKA Artist VIP's.  As a high-point Mr Six was awarded from the International Music Educators Association for his accomplisments in developing his agenda and goals in his field.  Programs and photos above attest to his contribution to the Clarinet Community.  Of note, he was Director of 2 Clarinetfests in Belgium, 1993 in Ghent and 1999 in Oostend.   A summary of the program is below.

MidWest Clinic Seminar with Guido Six, Director of the Claribel Clarinet Choir from Oostend, Belgium

If Johann Sebastian, Wolfgang, Ludwig and the others had known Claribel...

Clinic Synopsis:

              Claribel is celebrating its 20th anniversary at Midwest 2012 (founded in September 1992). This clinic will tell you the story of Claribel’s success during the past twenty years. It is a story of setting the right goals from the beginning, believing in the talent and strength of each member, and believing in the unique power of true friendship and respect for each individual.

Guido Six (
Clinician Biographical Information

             Guido Six was just 18 years old when he passed the examination to perform as a military musician in the Band of the Gendarmerie. It was there that he met his predecessor Roland Cardon, eventually following him as director of the Ostend Conservatory in Belgium. Guido eventually became professor of clarinet and pedagogical coordinator. His Claribel Clarinet Choir, which began in 1992, experienced many successes for their performances at international music festivals. Six is also chairman of the Music Association of West Flanderd and continues to organizes his clarinet internship in Oostduinkerke. The Conservatory of Oostende serves as home for the Belgian Clarinet Academy, an international summer course for pre-professional clarinetists. Several world renowned clarinetists join Guido for a fascinating and instructive week in the most beautiful of the Flemish coastal cities each summer.


13 - 14 October 2012

Vandoren Clarinet Ensemble Festival, featuring as Faculty VIP's Stanley Drucker, Paquito de Rivera, Alcides Rodriguez, and several notable Clarinet Ensembles and Choirs from all over the Eastern United States, Mitchell Estrin, David Gould, and Anthony Taylor and Kelly Burke, Directors, held  at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro

Greensboro, North Carolina USA

                 This major Clarinet Ensemble Festival, with invited Clarinet Choirs and Ensembles from several Universities located in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast United States, convened on the campus at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a major Music School, hosted by Professors Anthony Taylor and Kelly Burke, and Directed by Performing Organization and Vandoren Artist Mitchell Estrin and Vandoren Artist Director VIP David Gould.  As with past conferences which have been held in almost all sectors in the USA including Atlanta, Georgia, Michigan State University, Washington, DC, Eastman School of Music in Rochester,New York, North Illinois University in Chicago,  Seattle, Washington, the influence in promoting the Clarinet Choir movement has made a momentous success.    The prime purpose of a festival like this is to promote the quality performance of musical Clarinet playing by introducing aspirants to faculty high powered performance, engage in master class situations to enhance the playing of students, present top quality performances of faculty artists and ensembles, and have a Mass Clarinet Choir to perform together to conclude with a Finale.




                   Exhibits to browse through products such as Instruments like Clarinets, accessories, Sheet Music, etc, were all there to see and try and buy.  Buffet-Crampon, Vandoren, Jeanne Music, and others were there to see.  Their presence at the event is important so folks coming in from long distances can see all at one place and take advantage of the offerings rather than having to go to a store locally where the offerings are not present. 


Stanley Drucker and Mitchell Estrin in talk about Drucker's extensive New York Philharmonic Career and advice for aspiring players, and Professional Seminar about theMusic Career field with Estrin as host commentator, Alcides Rodriguez, Dr Drucker, and Paquito de Rivera


Master Class with Paquito de Rivera and combo and Students with Rivera and Alcides Rodriguez

                  The array of Artist Faculty included the Clarinet legends of our times, all Artist VIP's with WKA -  Stanley Drucker (New York Philharmonic), Naomi Drucker (American Chamber Ensemble and Hofstra University), Paquito de Rivera, legend Jazz and Latin American Clarinetist, Alcides Rodriguez (Bass Clarinetist in the Atlanta Symphony),  and Faculty Artists from this University Anthony Taylor and Kelly Burke.  Of special concert interest was a world premiere of an Octet for 8 Clarinets written by Paquito de Rivera, conducted by Dr David Waybright, Director of Bands from the University of Florida, of which Mitchell Estrin is a Full Professor of Clarinet.  The galleries and programs posted tell the story of the success of this very important annual event.


                  During the year there are several University sponsored Clarinet Day events, all of which based on their logistical capabilities and locations, all of which should obligate players to come if they can, and there are events with multi -faceted features such as this Festival, the major showcase festivals held during the summer months, and concentrated master class events, all of which should be attended if one is truly serious about their performance/teaching futures.  The major firms making Clarinets and others, have dedicated real resources to support these programs, and firms like Buffet, Vandoren, and others are to be credited for their outstanding support.   This Festival has been a continous development based on a dream to do great things in this venue- the Clarinet Choir movement, and Mitchell Estrin is the source of this great dream that has come to fruition.   This is a true credit to the Clarinet Community. 

20 - 21 April 2012

Chicago Clarinet Collaborations with Guest Artists Jon Manasse (Solo Clarinetist in the New York City Ballet Orchestra, The Mostly Mozart Orchestra, Faculty at the Juilliard School and the Eastman School of Music), and Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr and the Verdehr Trio, at Northeast Illinois University, Dr Rose Sperrazza, Director with Performance with the Chicago Clarinet Ensemble

Chicago, Illinois USA

            The weekend of these dates featured the famed Chicago Clarinet Ensemble with VIP Director Rose Sperrazza with two major Clarinet icons, both Artist VIP's Jon Manasse with renowned Pianist Jon Nakamatsu, and Dr Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr and her Violinist husband Walter Verdehr participating in Master Classes each and special concerts, all posted in this summary in the galleries.   Every time there is an event like this, the performance standard is quite outstanding with what is offered to everyone who comes and this is no exception.   Students who played the classes could see their improvement technically and musically as they were paced intensely by Mr Manasse and Dr Verdehr.  There was also a Master Class done for pianists with Jon Nakamatsu, with near spectacular results with the pianists participating.  One incredible pianistic quality from Nakamatsu was the dynamic power at the keyboard and the students sensed it like the attending audience. The Manasse Duo with him makes the whole scene very special.

Jon Manasse Master Class

Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr Master Class

Katherine Pirtle Reedual Seminar

Along with the classes and the two concerts, there was a seminar on Reed making using the Reedual machine invented and sold for years by Goerge Crossman, who recently passed away.  Katherine Pirtle, a professional Orchestral player and teacher, gave an extensive presentation and thorough demonstration on the whole reed process using this machine with participants involved.  Now that Crossman is gone, serious efforts are being done to see that this machine continues to be available with her and associates.

            Although this was only a two day event, it was well worth the coming in for it.  Because of the Chicago Symphony Russian tour, John Bruce Yeh, the Co-Director and Clarinet Ensemble Conductor, was unable to be here this weekend, but the show went on without a hitch thanks to Rose Sperrazza and students supporting this effort.  At the Final Concert consisting of ensemble music and the Clarinet Choir, David Tuttle conducted a memorial tribute to the late Lorin Levee, Solo Clarinetist in the Los Angeles Philharmonic who passed away in February by Percy Grainger.   On the Clarinet Ensemble concert, the Verdehrs performed a Concerto for Violin and Clarinet, scored from a String Orchestra to Clarinet Ensemble by James Niblock, composer at Michigan State University.  Of interest, the Verdehr Trio next year will have been active for 40 years, in the performance and commissioning of new works by major composers to expand the repertoire for Violin, Clarinet, and Piano and other combinations, a major feat for any ensemble.  Several volumes of recordings have been produced, and it is hoped this will increase performance and appreciation of this work. 

            It is so important for players and students to be acutely aware and attend as many of these events as possible to broaden their concepts and inspire their self improvement.   Credit is always out to those who pay a high price in effort to make these activities possible.


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Revised: December 23, 2012