Band executes challenging pieces for ‘Bolero’ concert

Emily Foster

Staff Writer

The Troy University Symphony Band had its “Bolero” concert in a packed Claudia Crosby Theater on Friday, Feb. 2.

It was a longer concert than normal, and Mark Walker, the conductor of the symphony band, wanted to feature all of the new faculty as soloists and guest conductors, plus faculty members who were recently inducted into the National Band Association Hall of Fame.

“Having all of the guest conductors and our various soloists made for a really unique and interesting concert, I think,” Walker said. “We try to play good music, and the students enjoy it, and they do a very, very good job with it.

“They played at near-professional level, and they’re just terrific students.”

The symphony band received enthusiastic responses from the audience for its high-caliber performance.

“I was really impressed with what Troy students could work together to accomplish,” said Jay Bowdoin, a senior theater major from Plant City, Florida, who attended Friday night’s concert.

The concert was named after the third song that was played, Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero.”

“That’s a really tough piece because it’s the same melody over and over and over again treated differently through the orchestration and harmonization, so it’s a very challenging piece to play,” Walker said.

The concert kept with mostly upbeat songs that featured storytelling and musical exhibition.

“I really liked the first two songs, ‘Moth’ and ‘Bolero,’” Bowdoin said. “They really carried a lot of weight and told a story.”

“My favorite part was just being part of this high level of music making,” said Rad Bolt, a graduate music education major from Panama City, Florida.

The symphony band has been practicing since the start of the semester to perform the two-hour concert featuring professional level music.

“The rehearsal process for the SEUS concert is always grueling,” Bolt said. “The band meets together for three days on the weekend before the semester starts.

“We started calling this ‘Symphony Band Camp.’ We meet and rehearse all day, usually 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.”

The concert took place during the middle of the Southeastern United States Clinic and Honor Bands (SEUS) events and directly before the induction ceremony for the National Band Association Hall of Fame. It is estimated that over a thousand people came through the John M. Long School of Music over the past week and weekend.

“We all take this concert very seriously, and it has to be done well because it is one of our biggest recruitment moments,” said Bolt. “This concert frequently ends up being the deciding factor on whether some of those students will come to Troy or not.”

Bowdoin encouraged other students to attend more events held by the John M. Long School of Music as well as the Department of Theatre and Dance.

“I think it’s always good to get out and see and support the arts,” Bowdoin said.

There will be another symphony band concert later this semester, on March 1, where Hui-Ting Yang will perform the Second Piano Concerto of Dmitri Shostakovich. This concert will also be the world premiere of Robert Jager’s Symphony No. 3, which will be performed among other pieces.

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