On Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, Backyard Gold Mine, also known as BGM, debuted with their first concert, “Dawn.” “Dawn” showcased orchestra music ranging from Haydn’s “Sunrise” string quartet to faculty member James Beckel’s “Dialogues” with guest performances from Professor Nicole Brockmann on viola and Anna Tessman ‘24 on violin. The concert was also highlighted by poetry performances of originals and erasures of David Mura’s “Aubade” and Tarfia Faizullah's “Aubade Ending in the Death of a Mosquito” from Professor Joseph Heithaus’ form and genre students, Harry Burgan, Layla Brown-Clark, Nina Thompson, and Jack Woods.
According to DePauw Music’s website, BGM is DePauw’s newest faculty chamber music ensemble celebrating the wealth of local art-making rooted in Greencastle, Indiana. The name references Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise,” and the ensemble draws from both the transitional classical repertoire as well as forging new transitions in collaboration with living artists. The core sextet features Professor Leo Sussman on flute, Professor Candice Kiser on clarinet, Professor Teagan Faran on violin, Professor Eric Edberg on cello, Professor May Phang on piano, and Professor Ming-Hui Kuo on percussion.
Through intricate lighting choices and brilliant sound, the music compiled by BGM brought warmth and excitement to the autumn season settling into DePauw from its cheery, upbeat flows beginning with “Stir Crazy” by Carlos Simon with the addition of chants throughout the performance leading into “Tight Sweater” by Marc Mellits. This same nature was kept in more quick mellow additions later in the program with “Early Morning” by Eve Beglarian and leading into more of this mellow and mysterious nature with “Quatuor pour les fin du temps” by Olivier Messiaen.
“Dawn” not only shows us what we can expect from future performances from BGM but also sheds light on what we can expect as DePauw moves toward the future once the School of Music joins the new Creative School at DePauw in fall 2024 and paves way for future collaborations with other creative departments.