Clarinets fill Haggin with music

Amanda Martin
Amanda Martin during her solo. PHOTOS BY CATLAN NGUYEN

On Feb. 21, the Haggin Museum hosted a performance by the Pacific Avenue Clarinets.

A regular band at the Haggin, the turnout had almost every seat filled.
The Pacific Avenue Clarinets is currently composed of Amanda Martin, Michael Hernandez, Christina Severin and Chris Steffanic, with Aaron Martin playing percussion for some songs. Pacific Avenue Clarinets has been playing for six years.

“We’re all from University of the Pacific. Different eras of college but there’s just a magical sound when you get all of these clarinets together,” said Amanda Martin.

Many of them are teachers as well and take the time out of their busy lives to practice together, according to Amanda Martin.

Refreshments like cookies, brownies, grapes and more were offered before and during the performance and the mix of classical, jazz and swing music complemented the beautiful backdrop adorned with the Haggin’s beloved paintings.

Composers included in the performance were Bach, Mackey, Piazzolla, Osborn and more.

Amanda Martin talked between songs, explaining the group’s influence and inspiration. Near the end of the performance, the band dedicated “On a Hymn Song of Philip Bliss” to Dr. Eric Hammer, a professor at University of the Pacific, who recently passed away. Hammer’s wife, Patricia, is a Delta College math professor.

This song specifically touched the audience and brought the surrounding paintings to life.

Band members
From left to right: Michael Hernandez, Amanda Martin, Christina Severin, Chris Steffanic and Aaron Martin kick off the performance.

“He had a joy for music that was so contagious,” said Amanda Martin. “This song is in memoriam of him. He went through a lot of loss in his life but to have the joy that he had is just supernatural. This piece gave him peace.”
Amanda Martin, 29, has been playing clarinet for 20 years.

Martin, Severin and Steffanic have been in the band since it first formed.
“I liked the performance,” said audience member Shirley Caskey. “I have a daughter who played clarinet in high school and it reminds me of when I’d hear her play.”

The Haggin Museum regularly has events similar to this every other Thursday and on some weekends. They also coordinate with schools to set up educational field trips and tours, according to Director of Education, Lindsey Munzel.

“We also have lectures and game nights and that’s just really based off of what’s going on in the community,” said Munzel.