Campus - 11.09.2020 - 00:00 

From a jam session to the university orchestra: The musical landscape at the HSG

Singing, dancing, playing guitars, following a rhythm, listening to beats - the musical landscape at the HSG is diverse, colourful and adventurous. Anyone can and should show off their talents and passions here. There is only one thing that counts: the love of music. By student reporter Anna Kati Schreiter.

11 September 2020. There is hardly anything that can simultaneously unite and polarise people as much as music. Classical, hip hop, techno, jazz - for some they are just sounds in their ears, for others it encompasses their entire attitude to life. If a silent observer walks across the HSG campus attentively, he will notice that almost every "loner" has music with them as a companion. Yet music at the HSG means more than just succumbing to the sound of music via headphones. Music at the HSG means the university choir, the big band, Amplify and the university orchestra. In university sport, it means physically transforming the rhythms into movement during salsa, bachata, hip hop or jazz dancing.

The musical landscape at the HSG*

I asked myself what makes the musical landscape at the HSG special and how this is expressed. To find out, I went to concerts, jam sessions and spoke to people who have been shaped by the music at HSG and make an impact on it.

My curiosity led me to a jam session held by the university club Amplify. I soon noticed that this event was about more than just the music. What counted was a feeling everyone could share, whatever their age, whether they were from the HSG or not. Everyone is welcome to make music here or to simply enjoy it.





The mood, the groove and the feeling of togetherness are the elements that fascinate me about these events the most.






Lino, Amplify president and drummer





It was also at an Amplify jam session where the band that is now famous under the name WE ARE AVA performed for the first time together. Singer Kim and keyboard player and former Amplify president Nicola had already got to know each other at their cantonal school. When the latter met Andy as part of a music project, the missing link in the chain had been found. They established the joint band in 2018 with Andy as the drummer. The three HSG students recorded an album in 2019 while they were studying and played their first gigs in Switzerland.

The SHSG’s band room is used for jamming every second Thursday, while on Tuesdays, when the HSG BigBand is rehearsing, it is home to funk, pop, soul and jazz music. And when the musicians render Frank Sinatra's "All of Me" at the Christmas concert, the sheer passion in the room is palpable. This is also why the HSG BigBand plays its annual spring concert, performs occasionally at the St.Gallen symposium, at bachelor graduation days and at private concerts.

Counterbalance to everyday studies

Talking of jazz... During my research into rhythm and feeling at the HSG, I also ended up at the university sport of jazz dance. My good colleague and instructor Hannah practised a choreography with all of the course participants, which was fantastic fun even for me as a sport procrastinator and made me forget time and space.





Dancing liberated me from the everyday grind. In that moment it's just me and the music.






Hannah, economics student and jazz dance instructor at HSG





Anyone who prefers to express their passion for music with their voice instead of their body, however, will find the perfect haven for this in the university choir. During the semester, the club meets every Tuesday in the HSG hall to find an outlet for their feelings and sing together. To prepare for the concert, which takes place at the end of every lecture cycle, the club members get together for a rehearsal weekend, where they sing, laugh and eat pizza.

However, if you do not have a singing voice, but do have nimble fingers, there is always the strings and wind sections of the HSG university orchestra. No audition is required to join this club. Rather, everyone who enjoys playing classical music together can attend orchestra rehearsals. The fact that the orchestra is not "just" a university club, but also a tightly knit community, can be heard in the euphoria of the words of a former member of the management board, Emil. He told me of the rehearsal weekends in Bregenz at the beginning of autumn, about the concerts that the orchestra gives every December, spring and early summer in the university and church as well as the annual orchestra trip after Easter, which has already taken the students to Amsterdam, Heidelberg, Venice, Bergamo and many other locations.





This trip is […] the highlight for every member of the orchestra. Of course, we rehearse every day for a few hours, but actually we spend far more time together in the city, whether for city rallies, trying out new bars, going out to eat or attending concerts […].






Emil, violinist and former member of the management board for personnel of the HSG university orchestra





But for those who neglected to become musically active in their childhood and teens, but would now like to change this, the piano room in the library is recommended as well as attending rehearsals, kick-off events and concerts held by the musical clubs at the HSG. For as Friedrich Schiller once said, music liberates people and lets them forget all their cares for a moment.

* For current information and conditions regarding the pandemic, please refer to the respective websites.

Anna Kati Schreiter is a fifth semester business administration student at the University of St.Gallen.

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