Meet Vince Zentner, VWS Musician of the Month for February 2017
Q: How long have you performed with VWS?
Vince: I believe I started playing with VWS back in 1997 when I was a member of The U.S. Continental Army Band stationed at Ft. Monroe. At that time I was a member of the clarinet section. When I won the audition for the U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point I had to leave the organization but I rejoined in 2003-ish when my Army time finished up. I initially rejoined the clarinet section but took over the piccolo chair shortly after when the opportunity presented itself. It was probably the 2004 concert season that I took over the piccolo chair. I have covered the harp parts as they occur since the beginning.
Q: How would I describe the difference in the performance experience between harp and piccolo?
Vince: That is a very interesting question. In my opinion they are two of the best chairs in the ensemble to occupy. As a piccolo player, there is a soloistic aspect to the parts that you have to be conscious of. The piccolo is one of the most audible parts in the band so you play a significant part in defining the sound of the ensemble. Accurate pitch and part preparation are very important. There is often no place to hide. I have to pay close attention to Dennis' comments on interpretation during the rehearsal cycle so I can come as close as possible to executing his interpretation of the music we perform. As a harpist there is a definite logistical component to actually getting my instrument to rehearsals and concerts that I don't have to worry about with the piccolo. There are times when an exposed cadenza comes into play but more often than not my role as a harpist is to accompany solo instruments in very thinly scored, transparent sections of music. There is also an "arranging" aspect to being a harpist. Composers and arrangers need to have a grasp of the capabilities of all the instruments in the ensemble that appear in their scores. Because of its unique technique and mechanics the harp is often the instrument to which they are least familiar. It is my job, as the harpist, to capture what the composers intent is and to edit my part as necessary.
Q: What is the benefit to performing with VWS to me?
Vince: Being a member of VWS lets me live out my passion for wind ensemble music. There are community bands all over the country but few can execute the music that we do in VWS. I have been performing in the wind band setting since high school, went on earn a performance degree and continued to a music career in the Army. VWS allows me to continue this.
To learn more about Vince, visit his website.