The Westerlies sweep in for Feb. 23 show at SJU

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February 11, 2019

By Connor Kockler '22

The Westerlies

The Westerlies

A new wind is blowing into the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.

Named after the prevailing winds blowing from west to east across North America, the Westerlies are a four-person brass quartet, combining their musical talents to create exceptional jazz, roots and chamber music.

The Westerlies will be performing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Stephen B. Humphrey Theater on the Saint John’s University campus as part of the Fine Arts Series at the CSB and SJU.

The CSB/SJU Brass Ensemble will be performing a collaborative composition with the Westerlies on stage during the concert. They will be creating the composition during workshops in the days leading up to the concert.

From their original roots in Seattle and adopted home of New York City, each of the Westerlies is as remarkable a musical presence as their natural namesake.

Riley Mulherkar has earned praise on the national stage for his musical talent, being called a “smart young trumpet player” by the New York Times and “a youngster to keep an eye on” by the Wall Street Journal. He was also recognized by esteemed trumpet player Wynton Marsalis as a “rising jazz artist.”

Chloe Rowlands, the newest member of the group, also does composing work for film and media and has performed at festivals around the world. She took second place in the International Trumpet Guild’s Jazz Trumpet Competition.

Andy Clausen plays trombone and in addition to performing with the Westerlies is the Artistic Director for Jazz at New York Youth Symphony. The New York Times called his composing work “sleek, dynamic large-group jazz, a whirl of dark-hued harmony and billowing rhythm.”

Wilhelm de Koch also plays trombone and has performed with jazz artists Wycliffe Gordon and George Duke in venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. He also works as a teaching artist at public schools and programs across the country.

Working together, the artists create wide-ranging melodies, switching speed and tempo to create a dynamic and engaging musical experience. You can really see the wide range and raw ability of the performers as they move through many different pieces of music.

The group has released two albums “Wish the Children Would Come Home” and the self-titled “The Westerlies” both to critical acclaim.

NPR Music has called their music “folk-like and composerly, lovely and intellectually rigorous.”

"Many stylistic winds blow through the repertoire of the Westerlies.” wrote the Chicago Reader. “The unconventional brass quartet from New York embraces jazz, classical, new music and dance…the Westerlies' rendition has no vocals, but you still feel the heartache.”

The Westerlies also make it a focus as part of their mission statement “to amplify unheard voices, paint new sonic landscapes and cultivate a global community.” To this end, the Westerlies produced their first “Westerlies Fest” in Seattle, reaching 1,000 students through in-school concerts and a creative workshop to bring music to underserved areas of their hometown.

The group will be conducting similar activities in the days preceding their performance at SJU. The Westerlies will hold workshops for CSB and SJU music students Feb. 20 and Feb. 22 in the SJU Rehearsal Hall. There will be additional workshops at St. Cloud Apollo High School, and a mini-concert at St. Cloud Veteran Affairs.

Immediately following their performance Saturday, there will be reception at the SJU Art Center. Complimentary appetizers and a cash bar will be available.

Tickets are $27 for adults, $24 for seniors and $20 for CSB/SJU faculty and staff. Youth and students (with ID) get in for $15, and CSB/SJU student tickets are $10.

For tickets, call the Benedicta Arts Center Box Office at 320-363-5777 or order online.

This performance is made possible by and sponsored in part by El-Jay Plumbing & Heating.

The activity is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.