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German composition honored by ensembles

By Tiffani Tang
Staff Writer

The College’s concert band and wind ensemble honored German composition in a combined concert on Friday, April 25, in Kendall Hall. 

Concert band performed first with director and conductor Marian Stewart.

The first piece was Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Military March.” As certain parts of the piece began to rise, they were stopped by quick, abrupt rests.

There were several sections where trumpets were answered by the rest of the band, but ultimately all the different instruments came together to create a larger sound at the end of piece.

The second piece, “Blessed Are They” by Johannes Brahms, started off with low, legato notes. The song rose and fell several times in dynamics and in the scale.

“The Beethoven Machine,” by Michael Colgrass, was introduced by Stewart. 

“You hear this funny percussion, and the woodwinds are the children, and the brass comes in and is like ‘no,’” he said.

The piece was playful, switching between crooked mechanical notes and smoother grand sections with powerful vocal tones.

The fourth piece was “Prelude to the Third Act of the Opera Kunihild” by Cyrill Kistler. Low notes from the brass were answered by clarinets in the beginning, giving off an ominous sound.

The band rose into cymbal crashes and percussion added drum rolls in a crescendo. Several legatos were directly followed with staccatos, and the band ended in fortissimo.

It was the perfect close right before intermission started and wind ensemble took Kendall’s stage.

The first piece performed was “Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor BWV 582” by Johann Sebastian Bach. The piece started off low, featuring one instrument, and as the song progressed, all of the other sections joined in.

Trumpets emphasized the ending before the band closed with a single note. It was clear that conductor David Vickerman, director of Bands at the College, is passionate about leading these students.

“Bach is not easy,” freshman interactive multimedia major Kathleen Fox said.

“Trauermusick WWV 73” by Richard Wagner was the second piece of the night. After a soft tone was established, six snares positioned around the theatre started a low murmur of a drum roll. 

The piece was extremely cohesive, and it all sounded like one instrument was playing, with the exception of a trumpet call in the middle.

“Overture für Harmonimusik, Op. 24” by Felix Mendelssohn, the final piece of the night, was intended to be played by lower instruments, but the wind ensemble accomplished a solid performance full of loud percussion, staccatos, legatos and a perfect buildup to the end.

Vickerman then turned to the audience and announced an additional song dedicated to Professor Roger McKinney, who is retiring this year. 

It seemed appropriate to celebrate a man who has “touched the lives of countless students.”

Richard Strauss’s “Serenade in E-flat Major,” one of McKinney’s favorites, was performed by a few select members from the ensemble. 

At one point in the song, there was a buildup of horns and bassoons as the flutes and clarinets repeated what was played. There was a flute solo right before staccato notes led into one final whole note.

There was a long and loud standing ovation for this piece as McKinney approached the stage to thank the performers for the pleasant surprise.

The wind ensemble was really, really impressive,” freshman women’s and gender studies major Mary-Elizabeth Thompson said.

It was also great for family members, teachers and friends supporting the people who worked so hard for this concert.

“We had less time to prepare (this semester),” junior music education major and wind ensemble member Manny Martinez said. 

“It was really intense and it took so much. (The performers) really put their hearts in it,” Martinez said. 

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