Composer, writer enjoy WET INK concert

By Nedu Izuegbunam, NewsNetNebraska

The piano was out there. The music stand was there. And so were the spot lights.

The stage was set for the second night of the WET INK concert, an event featuring works composed by students. The only thing missing at 7:30 p.m. was the show’s first two performers.

One minute went by. Then another. After three minutes of immense anticipation, Jenny Wood and Jameson Varpness took center stage to perform in front of the 28 people in the audience.

Although he’s been performing since he was in third grade, Varpness said Thursday night’s performance was unique.

“I had some friends from school come,” the piano player said. “This is a special concert because the composers are actually here. That is very rarely the case.”

The first year music graduate student and Wood performed a piece by Daniel Baldwin called “Kitsune (Fox Tales)”. The composer said the song was influenced by Asian mythology.

“It’s Kusana and their stories,” he said. “I picked three that I found interesting. Some of them are dark but they always have a message to them.”

Varpness and Woods were locked in to their musical notes and ready to perform their composer’s newest arrangement. It was like the two were having a staring contest and nothing could distract them. Not even the college couple conversing in the back row, nor the man picking his nose in the second row.

The pianist and bass player were focused.

“I was a little nervous but that’s just how performing works,” Varpness said. “I felt pretty comfortable. I had a great night.”

But out of the three piece set, Baldwin said the last one particularly his favorite.

“The last of the set of three I wrote was funny because it’s about a nagging wife,” he said with a grin. “That’s why at the end you can hear a broken record…I’ve been married for 15 years and so I found that especially amusing.”

Don’t worry, his wife likes the song, too.

“She finds it amusing, too. She’s got a great sense of humor,” Baldwin said.

Besides the composer, the night also saw six other composers who saw their ballads and uptempos performed in Westbrook’s room 119. Other pieces include:

“Rush” by James Haschke

“Suite for Ocarina and Celesta” by Amanda McCullough

“Viola Suite I” by Matthew Holman

“Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Adagio” by Steven Kaup

“An Afternoon with Cumulonimbus” by William Jones

“Rafales” by Marat Sanatullov

However, none of them had the small dilemma Baldwin did leading up to the night.

A week ago the Garden City, Kan., native was without a pianist to perform his 10-year-old song. But the producer finally found one in Varpness and was able to see one of his first written songs performed live for the first time.

Baldwin said he was grateful to have Varpness perform for him and said he’d do it again in the future.

“He’s a terrific guy and easy to get along with,” he said. “We work together well.”

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