How it All Began
The Prickly Pear Clarinet Ensemble was organized in 2015 by Robert & Jean Lake. The Lakes relocated to Lakehills, TX, from Minneapolis in 2014. While in Minnesota, they organized a clarinet choir comprising the Encore Wind Ensemble clarinet section. Having a large stack of clarinet choir music in their library, and having enjoyed the genre, the Lakes set about forming a clarinet choir here, to fill that musical void in their lives.
There are several clarinet choirs in the San Antonio area, but Prickly Pear wanted to have a small ensemble, with no more musicians than were needed to cover the parts – usually one musician per part. This yields the more intimate & transparent sound that’s so pleasing in chamber music works.
A founding member suggested the name, Prickly Pear, because the ensemble is somewhat of a quirky group of 8 Texans (mostly immigrants from the other 49 states!) who enjoy musical interaction with one another, honing our musicianship, aspiring to interpret compositions as the composers or arrangers envisioned, and sharing our performances with live audiences.
Much like the beautiful and sweet fruit of the prickly pear plant, the Prickly Pear Clarinet Ensemble desires to add a spritely sweetness to the musical offerings of Texas.
Now in its fourth year, Prickly Pear has performed at three ICA ClarinetFests, two Baylor Clarinet Festivals, TMEA, and various venues in the San Antonio metroplex.
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Meet the Ensemble
A network engineer at Rackspace, Stephen Moore also performs with the Heart of Texas Concert Band, Orchestra of the Incarnate Word, Mozart Festival Texas, Symphony Viva, and the Lone Star Philharmonic. Steve studied clarinet with Laroy Borchert and Larry Mentzer and performed with many ensembles in the El Paso, TX area for 15 years.
A pharmacist in San Antonio, Jean Lake currently performs with the Helotes Area Concert Band and the Heart of Texas Concert Band. Mrs. Lake has also played in several concert bands, pit orchestras, church orchestras, wind ensembles, and organized a wind quintet in Minneapolis.
Maleah Martin attended California State University, Northridge where she earned her Bachelor of Music in Clarinet Performance and Music Education under the instruction of Dr. Julia Heinen. During her time in college, Maleah earned the principal clarinet position with both the Wind Symphony and the Wind Ensemble.
A member of the United States Air Force Band of the West, Sandi Wellman holds degrees in clarinet from Texas Tech university and Texas Cristian University. Prior to her appointment in the USAFBW, she taught private lessons to students in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
A middle school band director in San Antonio, Cathryn Boethel is a recent graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio where she earned her bachelor degree in Music Education with a Performance Certificate. While on a study abroad for music performance in Italy, Cathryn performed at the Caffeina Culture Festival and the Tuscia Wine Festival.
A middle school band director in San Antonio, Leslie Mills attended Arizona State University and holds an undergraduate degree in Music Education. A native of Southern California, she began playing clarinet in 2001 after joining her elementary school music program.
A manager at a local music store, Shawn Guzman dedicates his time as a private clarinet instructor and the D’Addario Reserve Method Clinician for San Antonio and South Texas area. Additionally, he has been the newest artist of ALRY Publication, arranging Capriccio Espagnol for Clarinet Choir.
A retired band director and military musician, Bob Lake is an active musician in and around the San Antonio area. He holds both a bachelor and masters degree from Drake University and has had the privilege to play under the baton of Frederick Fennel.