Performers at Ke-Nekt concert share lifelong love of music

working in MIDI LabThe Eugene Friesen Ensemble will welcome Aaron Reece of SUNY Oswego’s music department to the stage when the group opens this year’s Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series with a blend of world music, classical, folk and rock at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, in the Sheldon Hall ballroom.

In advance of sharing the stage, one main thing Grammy-winning cellist Friesen and Oswego oboist Reece have in common is a lifelong love of music.

Friesen’s passion for music, specifically the cello, goes back to his childhood days. “When I was a kid, pulling my cello in a little red wagon to and from elementary school, absorbing the sounds of Bach, Brahms and the ‘60s, I dreamed of someday doing something wild, something beautiful, personal and unique with the cello,” Friesen recalled.

Friesen has accomplished his dream, as his adventures with space and place have led him to remote locations all over the world and even under the sea—using recorded whale sounds during select concert performances.

In following his musical interest, Reece took a path less traveled. “Most people don’t start off with the oboe. Usually the instructor will recommend that kids start playing an instrument like the flute because of the idea that it’s ‘easier’ or something,” Reece said, shaking his head. “I doubt any musician will tell you an instrument is ‘easy.’”

Reece confessed that his love for the oboe is part familiarity, part admiration. “I think the oboe is capable of a wide range of characters,” he said. “Of all the instruments in the orchestra, it probably gets the most solos, which is always very nice.”

Reece, who is earning his doctor of musical arts degree at the Eastman School of Music, said he is delighted to share the stage with Friesen, whose visionary concerts on expansive prairies and in Japanese mountainside museums are something that appeals to him.

“My dream concert? I don’t know. That wheat field concert Eugene Friesen did sounds pretty good,” Reece said of a famous concert Friesen presented to thousands of music lovers on the prairie of Winfield, Kansas.

Friesen will bring two other accomplished players with him for his SUNY Oswego performance: longtime Lyle Lovett pianist Tim Ray and Grammy-winning frame drummer Glen Velez.

Tickets for the Eugene Friesen Ensemble cost $15 ($10 for seniors and students, $5 for SUNY Oswego students).

For more information or reservations, call Tyler box office at 312-2141, e-mail or visit

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PHOTO CAPTION: Ready to Ke-Nekt—Aaron Reece (left) is an oboist and administrator of the SUNY Oswego music department’s MIDI Lab in Tyler Hall, where he is shown working with senior music major Nick Gianopoulos. Reece will join the Eugene Friesen Ensemble performing a blend of world music, classical, folk and rock for the first concert in the Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, in the Sheldon Hall ballroom on campus.

(Posted: Sep 27, 2006)