Off Beat: Wedding gift comes with strings

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Creative art is often a labor of love.

As far as Don Appert is concerned, you can say that again.

The Clark College music professor has demonstrated his musical chops time after time, illustrated by his recent performance in The American Prize in Orchestral Programming.

Not only did Appert win the Prize, he had a second entry that made the semifinals.

But it’s another artistic effort that actually reflects Appert’s labor-of-love approach to creating music.

Barely a month ago, Appert marked the premiere of “Vignette for String Quartet” in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Appert wasn’t involved in the performance, since he had other responsibilities at the time — like giving the bride away.

“I have two daughters,” Appert explained. “When the older daughter was married in Bermuda, I wrote a piece for her.

“When my other daughter got married, I wanted to do one for her. She was having a string quartet perform, and I wrote them a piece.

“It took me about a month,” he said. “A big issue always is time. Sometimes you have the time and you don’t have the inspiration, which is annoying.

“One time I sat down, and nothing. At 11 that night was when I was inspired.”

Short and sweet

“Vignette” is about five minutes long.

“It was a wedding,” Appert pointed out. “Those folks were not necessarily there to hear music.”

Still, they seemed to enjoy Appert’s musical gift to his daughter, which prompted him to expand the composition.

“There was such wonderful feedback at the wedding,” said Appert, who is head of the Clark College music department. “I think it has potential for a string orchestra. I’ve actually used some of the material for a piano concerto.

“The first part of ‘Vignette’ is a picture of my younger daughter. I had more to say with that. I’ll do what all composers do: Recycle.”

— Tom Vogt

Off Beat lets members of The Columbian news team step back from our newspaper beats to write the story behind the story, fill in the story or just tell a story.