Red drapes line the stage walls, where about 50 current members of the SF State wind ensemble sit on stage, instruments poised, their heads turned away from their sheet music to look up at a video projection of Edwin Kruth teaching his music class from a time before they, and even some of their parents, were born. In the audience sit some of Kruth’s former students with tubas and trumpets perched on their laps, also looking at the footage of the beloved professor they have come to play in memory of.
An audience of 250 people, which included SF State alumni and current music students, gathered in Knuth Hall to celebrate the life of Kruth with a memorial concert Dec. 11.
Kruth, a war veteran and Ivy League graduate, gave 40 years of his life to teaching in the department of creative arts, and was highly influential in the world of music.
The concert, divided in three parts, featured performances from the current SF State wind ensemble and the SF State alumni band, with the last act showcasing both bands playing together.
The alumni received copies of their sheet music a few weeks before the concert, and only had one rehearsal session four hours before the memorial, according to SF State alumna Alane Gilbrech, who played the flute in the alumni ensemble.
Although she didn’t major in music, Gilbrech took band classes with Kruth before she graduated in 1971.
“He was an excellent conductor. He kept us moving along during rehearsal and he enjoyed the musicality,” Gilbrech said. “He was well respected.”
Kruth’s legacy as a teacher pervades the music department, according to SF State music major Ashley Ertz, who helped with the concert’s organization.
“I’ve heard a lot of stories from teachers and alumni. The program was big and thriving when he was here,” said Ertz, who played the oboe in the concert. “He was just amazing.”
Although the alumni band only rehearsed once the morning of the concert, they played the music properly according to SF State senior and music major Oliver Magrane.
“I think we did a lot better than even the last performance,” said Magrane, who played the trumpet. “I missed the rehearsal this morning but I think it went really well.”
The concert featured seven songs, including Gustav Holst’s Suite No. 1 in E flat, and John Philip Sousa’s “The Fairest of the Fair.”