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OU School of Music woodwind ensemble to hold outdoor concert, 'Sooner Bassooners at Sunset'

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Sooner Bassooners music ensemble.

The OU School of Music will host an outdoor “Sooner Bassooner” concert on April 27 in the Fine Arts Courtyard. 

The concert will feature music by several acclaimed composers, including Georg Philipp Telemann, Bill Douglas, Julius Weissenborn and Johann Strauss, said OU bassoon professor Rodney Ackmann. 

“It's a pretty diverse program, from classical to original arrangements to movie music,” Ackmann said.

Twelve students make up the Sooner Bassooners, including 8 bassoon majors and 4 students studying other disciplines. 

Ackmann said the majority of the rehearsals for the performance have taken place outside due to COVID-19 protocols. Thus, due to the weather conditions earlier in the semester, students have been preparing for just under two months.

“(The students) have really pulled this together quickly, and I am really proud of the group,” Ackmann said. 

Students will also be performing in masks. The masks the bassoonists use have a small slit in them through which the reed of the instrument is placed, Ackmann said. 

“They’re also not breathing normally like they would without a mask,” Ackmann said. “We are wind players, and the air we take in has got to be full, and deep and open, but the mask kind of makes that tough.” 

The bassoons also have coverings over their bells, which are openings in the top of each instrument. 

Despite these challenges, Ackmann said his students never complained and instead figured out how to effectively play with the mask. 

The concert is open to the public and will take place at 7:30 p.m. on April 27 in the Fine Arts Courtyard, which is located next to the Reynolds Performing Arts Center. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, and admission is free. 

There is no scheduled rain date, and no live stream is available. 

To find a group of bassoonists like the Sooner Bassooners is not common, Ackmann said. 

“I often say the bassoon is an endangered species,” Ackmann said. “It’s pretty rare to find really high level student bassoonists to even put a group like this together. We're proud of it, and it's been in existence for a long time.”

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