What's an oboe?

Oboes are part of the woodwind family, more specifically it is a double-reed. Double-reed players must make their own reed, or else buy one that someone else has made. The main barriers in the way of novice oboists are access to quality reeds and private lessons. The oboe is a peculiar instrument that is difficult to teach in a band setting, so oftentimes a band will not have an oboist, even if a student is willing and an instrument is available. 

Today, Kelsey makes her own reeds, teaches private lessons, and freelances around town with churches, schools, and other local musicians. The summer before her freshman year of high school, however, she had no idea what an oboe was. Her older brother was performing with the marching band for a Memorial Day event, and afterwards the band director asked if she would be willing to switch from flute to oboe. She responded excitedly, "Sure! What's an oboe?" She continued to play flute and piccolo in marching band while playing oboe in concert band and later being invited to join the Long Bay Symphony Youth Orchestra

Kelsey had been taking flute lessons from a jazz saxophonist who started her on oboe, but he quickly suggested she find a proper oboe teacher. She found Cindra Marshall and took lessons with her for a few years before switching to Jessica Miller for her senior year. Jessica took her to a masterclass at Converse College, where Kelsey was applying to college. While she decided on Wofford College for her education, she did sign up for oboe lessons at Converse with Dr. Kelly Vaneman. After graduating from Wofford in 2010 she went back to Converse to get a second undergraduate degree in music. She graduated in 2015, making nearly a decade spent taking lessons with Dr. Vaneman. 

June 2, 2018

Oboe Rockstar: a Lawson Faculty Recital

Photo courtesy of Mark Olencki

Socastee High School Graduation photo from 2006. 

Where will I show up next? 

©2017 by Kelsey Leahy

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Donations accepted but not expected. 

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This website was funded in part by Chapman Cultural Center, its donors, the County and City of Spartanburg and the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC.