Symphony band to play classic “masterworks” during fall concert

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(PHOTO/ Zenith Shrestha)

Aaron Ward, a senior music education major from Geneva, will perform alongside other band members in the symphony band during their “Masterworks” concert. 

Andrea Hammack

Staff Writer

Troy University’s symphony band is in full swing, with its first concert of the semester taking place on Sunday, Sept. 22. 

The concert, titled “Masterworks,” focuses on pieces that are considered “masterworks” in the band genre. 

“In this particular concert, we are focusing on classic band repertoire from the 1950s through 1990s that largely shaped the music that came after it,” said Mark Walker, director of bands.

Selections for this concert include “American Overture,” “Divertimento for Band,” “Fanfare and Allegro,” “Solitary Dancer,” “As Summer Was Just Beginning,” and “Rocky Point Holiday.”

“Each of these pieces was influential in the development of the concert band,” Walker said.

Though Walker has his favorites, he said he suspects that the audience will hear something that interests them as well. 

“I really love all of these pieces, but I think my favorite is the ‘Divertimento for Band’ by Vincent Persichetti,” Walker said. “It is such a fun and interesting piece. “

“I suspect that the audience will like either ‘American Overture’ or ‘Rocky Point Holiday’ the most – they are both extremely exciting. But I think the concert will appeal to everyone.”

With 53 members in the band, and most of them being members of Sound of the South as well as other ensembles, Walker said he is impressed with how far the band has come since auditions.

“Auditions started the day after band camp, which was August 12. We started rehearsals for this concert on August 16, so we’ve had a little over a month to prepare,” Walker said. 

“I’m very proud of the sound that the band is producing right now, and the technical facility of the woodwinds is impressive.”

Erica Allen, a senior music education major from Jesup, Georgia, plays piccolo in the ensemble and said that though there are many challenges, the band has come a long way. 

“The music we are performing has been challenging in many different ways for different sections,” Allen said. “Each band holds sectionals each week to improve their playing and the band has definitely grown as an ensemble. Hard work has definitely paid off.”

The more challenging moments can also make things more interesting for the band and for the audience listening. 

“One of my favorite pieces we are playing is ‘Rocky Point Holiday,’” Allen said. “It’s challenging but so captivating, not only to perform but to listen to as well.”

Another aspect that adds difficulty is that there are multiple conductors during the performance.

Katie Manker, an administrative graduate assistant from Holtville,  conducts “Solitary Dancer” by Warren Benson during the concert.

“It’s a neat minimalist piece that features many soloists and requires the band to play with quiet precision,” Manker said. “Solitary Dancer is about seven minutes long and is rhythmically intensive. I think my conducting has gotten a whole lot better since I’ve started, and this piece is also teaching me a great deal about small, controlled gestures.”

Allen said she enjoys the experience of getting to play under the different styles of each conductor. 

“Being that I want to be a band director one day when I graduate, getting the opportunity to experience so many styles of conducting is very helpful for me,” Allen said. “It gives me a better understanding of conducting and allows me to better myself as a musician.”

With all of the diversity in the music and within the styles of directing, everyone is encouraged to attend and find something you like. 

“The beauty that is live music is slowly becoming less and less available to the public,” Allen said. “I think people should come out and get a feel for the beautiful music we will be performing.”

The concert will be held on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 3 p.m. in Crosby Theater. Admission is free to the public. 

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