Leah Schwarting

Being a teacher and a performer is not always easy, but the faculty at the music department have been juggling both roles for some time.

Two years ago, these two roles were highlighted when the Faculty Artist Series, a part of the Festival of Fine Arts, was created.

“This is a series that’s dedicated to presenting the music faculty, and some of our community colleagues,” Paula Parschẻ, the music department chair, said.

This year Dr. Brian Brink, associate professor of music, accompanied by Parsché on piano, is performing “An Affinity For Song.”

“Bass trombone is not a standard solo instrument. So when the audience comes, they usually don’t know what to expect,” Brink said. “So I try to present something, especially in this concert, that is full of good melody, easy to follow, easy to enjoy, just gives me a chance to be a singer on the horn, because that’s what I try to do.”

Some pieces for “An Affinity For Song” were originally written for other instruments, like the violin, that were then arranged for trombone.

Others were vocal pieces, like “Songs for a Wayfayer.”

“Through the years as a young musician, as a singer and also as a trombonist, I’ve always been attracted to just pure song,” Brink said. “So I wanted to share with the audience pieces that had particularly good melody or memorable melody content.”

However, having to teach and perform brings its own difficulties.

Snatching practice time for the series, and other performances outside of the school, can be difficult.

“My normal rehearsal schedule is try to fit in as much practice in the middle of trying to get ready for classes,” Brink said.

Between their classes and performances, teachers also assist students in getting ready for their own performances.

So many performances are an integral part of the department, though.

“I would say that our music department is very much a performance-based department,” Parsché said.

In the beginning, Brink played for 30 minutes each day as “maintenance.” As the concert drew closer, Brink buckled down with a more intensive program, practicing for an hour and a half.

“I want to get to the point where what’s on the page is really in my thoughts,” Brink said.

During fall break Brink practiced four hours a day.

Parsché also joined Brink for the first time during the break to practice together.

“We will practice together as much as we need to, but always knowing that we would love to practice a little bit more together,” Parsché said. “But we do other things, like our day jobs.”

In the end though, all the practice pays off for everyone: performers, audience members and students.

“It’s great, I think, for our students to be able to see their faculty doing what they teach,” Parsché said.

Parsché said that performing “lends a great deal of credibility to the teaching that we do.” Despite all of the hard work, Brink agrees.

“Being a good teacher helps me be a better musician, and being a prepared, thorough musician helps me to be a better teacher,” Brink said.

“An Affinity For Song” is free to everyone. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Anne MacGregor Jenkins Recital Hall on Nov. 19.