“Masterworks” bring British band classics together

Lacey Alexander

Staff Writer

Troy University’s Symphony Band performed a collection of British band classics spanning from Gustav Holst to Percy Grainger.

The concert was conducted by its in-class instructor, Mark Walker, and the band performed its annual “Masterworks” concert in the Claudia Crosby Theater at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 29. It was the first concert of the semester for the Symphony Band.

The concert was a tribute to British band classics, with the student band performing pieces by Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Percy Grainger.

The show, which lasted an hour and was free to the public, closed with “Lincolnshire Posy,” a collection of English folk songs.

Walker, who is the director of bands and who chose the pieces for the concert, said that these works have been influential on band music as a whole.

“Those pieces are kind of the cornerstone of British Band Literature,” Walker said. “Those particular works kind of set the standard for almost all band music.

“They are pieces every band should play and every student should know.”

Walker also said that these pieces are rarely all performed together in the same concert.

“It was a great opportunity, not only for myself but for the band students,” Walker said. “They got to study and get the flavor of the entire genre.”

The students in the symphony band are all a part of the Sound of the South marching band, and some students lend their talents to the pep bands as well.

“The students have a lot on their plate…They do everything,” Walker said. “It would be analogous to a football player also running track, also playing baseball, also playing basketball and soccer and golf …They do a lot.”

After six weeks of both in-class and individual sectional rehearsals, Walker said, the performance has a lot of educational value.

“I don’t see the point in just sitting around and rehearsing … We have to perform,” Walker said. “It’s a performance art; it’s an experience with the audience… you have to have that.”

Emmy Lawniczak, an assistant drum major for the Sound of the South and member of the Symphony Band, said she agrees with Walker on the importance of performance.

“It’s immeasurable,” said Lawniczak, a sophomore music industry major from Jackonville, North Carolina. “Learning to play and performing music like we do helps us gain insight on the psyche of the composer, and through that, we are better able to understand each other as musicians.”

Lawniczak also said that the hard work is also important to her musical education.

“The emotional, physical and mental activity that it takes to be a musician in the symphony band takes education to an entirely different level,” Lawniczak said.

“There’s not a lot of sleep,” Walker said. “The same students do everything all the time. For most of the students, it’s extremely rewarding.”

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