CSU’s Kaleidoscope Event Features 240 Performers in One Breathtaking Show

Lights blink, the crowd quiets, and the show begins. The curtain unveils the wind orchestra, which delivers a Bernstein overture. Lights down. Attention turns left to a soloist performing an opera aria about a woman’s dream of love. Lights down. Next up is the brass quintet with contemporary music. The seamless concert continues for 80 minutes with no intermission and only a few seconds between each performance. It is a carefully constructed collage with nearly every instrument and genre imaginable – classical, jazz, a Romanian folk song, an African American spiritual – each appearing in a different corner of the auditorium.

That is just a glimpse at what you will find at the 2018 Columbus State University Schwob School of Music Kaleidoscope concert on April 14. The annual performance showcases the world-class CSU Schwob School of Music in its entirety for a show unlike any other.

“It is pure musical magic,” said Paul Hostetter, director of orchestral studies at CSU and the coordinator of Kaleidoscope. “We call it kaleidoscope, because it captures the wide variety of colors. It is a snapshot of the tremendous talent that we have at this school, as well as the extraordinary teachers.”

Planning Kaleidoscope isn’t easy. With 25 groups and soloists, 240 student performers, and more than 40 instruments including three large pianos, logistics can be a challenge. Hostetter explains that the preparation begins with a complex spreadsheet of each performance – a document that goes through eight or nine revisions. Many factors must be considered. Will there be enough time to set up trombone ensemble on the main stage between sets? How will the star flutist make it from her first appearance in the pit to her second performance in the balcony? Would it sound better if the string ensemble plays before the clarinet solo or the sax project?

“We have this great variety of music that we present. We are trying to get a sense of flow from beginning to end. Logistical and artistic needs are considered. Finally, we come upon a magic formula that goes really well,” said Hostetter.

In addition to the diversity of music, there is also a diversity of students at Kaleidoscope. Recognized globally as a leading school of music, CSU’s Schwob has attracted students from 20 countries.

“We have students who come from all backgrounds, economic and cultural. There are people who are rich, poor, black, and white. You’ll hear different languages being spoken back stage,” said Hostetter. “We all come together through the beauty of music. It is what binds us together.”

Kaleidoscope will begin at 7:30 p.m. on April 14 in the Bill Heard theatre at the RiverCenter. To purchase tickets, please visit http://www.rivercenter.org/.