Morris library kicks off concert series

Morris library kicks off concert series

By Elizabeth zinchuk

The typically quiet library space was filled with sounds of music Tuesday.

The Freedom Winds, a woodwind quintet composed of U.S. Air Force members, are part of the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America, stationed at Scott Air Force Base near Belleville. The band performs throughout a 10-state region from Oklahoma to Michigan, and they made a stop to perform in the Morris Library rotunda.

The concert preceded the library’s new musical performance series set to start in October. “First Fridays Music at Morris” will bring different music acts to the first Friday of each month at noon. All of the concerts will be free and open to the public.


Sgt.Kim Miller, clarinet player and the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Freedom Winds, said it was great to be able to perform at the university. Miller joined the Air Force in 1998 and has a master’s degree in clarinet performance from Arizona State University.

“It’s great, this room is just beautiful and it is a wonderful, responsive audience,”

she said. “I really enjoyed it.”

Miller said as a performer, she tries to play what her specific audience would want to hear.

“We play everything, it really depends who are audience is, we try to cater to our audience,” Miller said. “At a college, we would do more academic pieces that were specifically written for a woodwind quintet.”

School of Music director Frank Grzych said the performances will consist of talent from the department’s students and faculty including acts with percussion, an oboe trio, and possibly opera. Gryzych said coordinators are still in the process of finalizing who will perform.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Grzych said. “That’s what we do as musicians is perform, so it’s always a big deal to be able to perform in a beautiful space where we can show off the work we have been doing.”


Gryzych said the school usually holds performances at the Baptist Foundation building, Altgeld Hall and Shryock Auditorium. Extending more performances at the library is a great experience for students in the school of music, he said.

Kristine McGuire, Morris Library developmental officer, said the rotunda space in the library inspired her to utilize the area in a new way.

“My background is in performing arts so when I heard the acoustics in this place, I thought that it needed to be used for something,” McGuire said. “We have this great school of music and a wonderful place so I thought of ‘First Fridays Music at Morris.'”

McGuire said she thinks a library does not just have to be a place for studying, but a place for people to come together and experience new things.

“I just think it’s a great opportunity for students and community members to come to the library and experience it in a different way,” McGuire said. “It’s a beautiful place with now wonderful music.”

The concert series was partially influenced by new library Dean Anne Cooper Moore, McGuire said.

“Moore believes that the library is central to the cultural experience in college so she wants to expand that as much as possible,” McGuire said.

Anna Luxion, a senior from Chicago studying music theory and composition, watched the Freedom Winds perform. She said she is excited for the “First Fridays Music at Morris” and hopes she can attend more performances.

“I thought it was really fantastic,” Luxion said. “It’s a good testament to this space and also a good testament to their playing that they were able to blend well being a smaller group, which can both be beneficial and more troublesome.”

Luxion said the Freedom Winds performed well with the challenge of being a smaller band.

“You only have the five people, so sometimes you can stick out when you’re not supposed to and sometimes you can blend in when you’re not supposed to,” Luxion said. “They did an excellent job with balancing the instruments.”

As far as music playing in a library, a place known to be quiet study space, Luxion said it did make sense.

“I love it, I think it makes so much sense because you have this space, which is pretty much designed to be acoustically great and absorb sound with the round shape and the ceiling design,” Luxion said. “Even if you are coming to study this music isn’t really disruptive so I think it’s a great idea.”

Luxion said the library is a new place for student in the school of music to perform besides Shryock Auditorium and the old Baptist Foundation building,

“I think it’s a really good idea to bring in other people because it is a public space,” Luxion said. “The library is central hub, people are walking in all the time so this is an awesome place for performances.”