GHC music ensemble holds spring concert coordinated by students

Georgia Highlands College’s (GHC) music ensemble The Highlanders held their Spring Forward concert in April at downtown Cartersville’s Friendship Plaza.

The Highlanders is a group of 15 students, who perform under the direction of Professor of Music Sam Baltzer.

The ensemble performed a variety of styles, including classical, jazz, Broadway, Celtic and pop. Songs performed include “Blue Moon,” “I’ve Got Rhythm,” “For Good” from Wicked, “Galway Girl” and “The Long and Winding Road.” They also performed an original piece of Baltzer’s work called “Un Reel” in an Irish dance style.

“The students worked very hard all semester to prepare for the concert,” Baltzer said. “For several in the group, this was their first public performance and they all rose to the occasion. It’s difficult to perform outdoors, with distractions, wind and weather, and no sound reflection; but the students maintained their focus and did a great job.”

Baltzer said The Highlanders and their instruments of expertise are different every semester. This semester the group included violin, cello, string bass, three guitars, two keyboards, clarinet, two saxes, trumpet, drummer and three singers.

Professor of Music Robert Adams said more than 100 attended the concert.

“Prior to the pandemic, the music department held annual spring concerts,” Adams said. “This event marked an eagerly awaited return to live music events, and we wanted to share it with the Northwest Georgia community.”

In addition, this concert was co-coordinated by students in Robert Adam’s hybrid music appreciation class. While participating in a GHC faculty learning community, Adams said he learned about using High Impact Practices to provide students with significant benefits and real-world experiences.

“My students have been busy this semester meeting with representatives from the college, the Cartersville Downtown Development Authority and The Highlanders,” Adams said. “They have assisted with organizing and advertising for the event, and it was extremely exciting for them to see their efforts come together on Monday evening. Learning to collaborate with community partners is a tremendous step toward good citizenship and good life-long work ethics.”

Adams said music appreciation is beneficial to all students, even those who don’t think music is related to their academic pursuits.

“The course provides students with the opportunity to become an active participant, as a trained listener, and learning more about the composers and their craft adds a greater dimension to the listening process,” Adams said.

GHC’s music pathway prepares students for their audition and admittance to a variety of four-year music programs. Following graduation at GHC, music students may choose music education, music performance, composition, music business, or music therapy.

The college has four music ensembles which are open to the entire GHC community. In addition to The Highlanders, GHC hosts the Northwest Georgia Winds, choral ensemble and a guitar ensemble.

Students of all majors are welcome to join The Highlanders. For more information, email Baltzer at sbaltzer@highlands.edu.