Composite image showing BJ Diden conducting the Symphonic Band on the left, Nathan Frank directing the Chamber Choir on the right

Student Musicians Engage Community, Enhance Musicianship

Student Musicians Engage Community, Enhance Musicianship

Wes McRae | October 17, 2023 – Atlanta, GA

Student musicians enhanced their own musicianship and served as ambassadors for the Georgia Institute of Technology in recent joint performances with Atlanta-area music ensembles.

The Chamber Choir performed Heroes: A Video Game Symphony with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) at the Atlanta Symphony Hall. More recently, the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony (AYWS)  joined the Tech Symphonic Band onstage at Ferst Center for the Arts, performing a varied program of music mostly from living composers. "The multicultural program featured music of composers often underrepresented in classical music," said Benjamin Diden, conductor of the Symphonic Band. "Of interest, Viet Cuong is a native of Atlanta and attended Lassiter High School."

"This event is a great way to reach out to new audiences and bring awareness to the musical opportunities available to Tech students. Our music ensembles are an outstanding way for our students to activate a creative side of their brain and is a fantastic artistic outlet for them," Diden said.

"It’s also a unique opportunity for our recruitment for the future. Many members of the AYWS will be attending Tech in the future."

The Heroes symphony, which was performed by the Chamber Choir with the ASO, is an arrangement of music from popular video games arranged to tell the story of a hero's journey.

"By using video game music, Heroes connects video games with the larger sphere of art and literature usually associated with a hero’s journey, popularized by Joseph Campbell," said Kathryn Amstutz, an officer of the Chamber Choir. "In doing so, it connects the lives of ordinary people with the journey they’ve seen so many heroes undergo."

Performing in a professional setting allowed the Choir to expand their musicianship. "Singing with a professional orchestra requires singers to work efficiently, perform rhythms much more precisely, and to be able to sight read more independently, as it can be difficult to hear the surrounding singers," Amstutz said.

"Additionally, three members of the Georgia Tech Chamber Choir (Rachael Germany, Emma Johnson, and Christine Ling) performed solos in front of over one thousand people during this concert."

"I find these are the moments when music intersects with life and real musical education happens," said Nathan Frank, who is directing the Chamber Choir at Tech this fall. "It is one thing to hum along to your favorite video game, but another to bring it to life for 1,000 fans of the music."

"You will be hard-pressed to find a better group of young people to be ambassadors for the University."


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