November 16, 2012
Symphonic band performs all styles"The music will have contrasting feelings and flavors with characteristics from very pious to fun and frivolous."
This was how conductor Eric Hinton, associate professor of music and director of bands, described the symphonic band's upcoming fall concert.
The symphonic band, which consists of an orchestra of about 60 music and non-music majors, allows for a mixed level of ability, according to Hinton. Junior Emily Hudock said that roughly 80 percent of the orchestra is made up of underclassmen, which presents a challenge. "We need to have intensive rehearsals and outside rehearsals," she said. "Inexperienced students are more than willing to put in that work and get up to par, though." She added that the symphonic band helps get all students involved in their interest and keep up with their musicianship even if they don't have music classes.
"We're an ensemble made up of musicians who are at various levels of musical development, but we are like a big family and we try our best to support those who need a little encouragement," junior Alyssa Williams said.
Junior Mindy Danowski explained that symphonic band repertoire is fairly new and has only existed for about 100 years, making it a challenge for the performers as they attempt to encompass a variety pieces from throughout that time frame. One of the earliest pieces being performed will be English composer Malcolm Arnold's English Dances in four movements from 1950, which are inspired by folk tunes. The most modern is the 2001 piece, Masque, written by British composer Kenneth Hesketh.
Both Hudock and Danowski agreed that Masque was their favorite piece in the concert.
"It's technically challenging and difficult to perform in a large group, which makes it fun to play," Hudock said.
"It's just crazy. The woodwind parts are flying all over the place. Fingers are flying," Danowski said. "It's a roller coaster ride for five minutes straight."
However, O Magnum Mysterium, a piece written by America composer Morten Lauridsen, is the favorite of Williams. Although it is originally written as a choral piece, she said: "The arrangement for concert band is just as beautiful and powerful... There is so much tension and release in this piece that it's very easy to get lost in your own emotions."
Because of the variety of musical pieces showcased in the band's repertoire, Hinton said: "By accident, a few pieces happen to be religious in nature. It's an idea I approached in a lot of different ways. Peace and serenity became an inadvertent theme."
Hudock said that she hopes the audience will gain a feeling of contentment at being exposed to different musical genres. The varied styles, Danowski explained, were picked by Hinton so they could work from scratch.
Despite challenges in varied repertoire, style and instrument techniques, the hard work of the symphonic band will show in its performance, according to Williams. She added, "I will warn everyone ahead of time that they may have a Sousa march stuck in their heads for the rest of the evening, but it will definitely be worth everyone's time to attend."
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