Upcoming concert to showcase “major growth” of campus band and student conductors

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Andrea Hammack

Staff Writer

Troy University’s campus concert band is set to put on its fall concert on Monday, Nov. 18. 

The concert will feature a wide variety of band selections from the 1900’s through recent years and will be directed by graduate assistants within the School of Music. 

Jordan Guy, an administrative graduate assistant from Enterprise, is one of the conductors for the concert. 

“I am conducting ‘Toccata for Band’ by Frank Erickson and ‘Irish Tune from County Derry’ by Percy Grainger,” Guy said. “’Toccata for Band’ is considered a standard piece in the wind band repertoire and is a great piece to learn as a musician.

“Irish Tune” was created from traditional Irish folk music, and the melody is very recognizable for many.”

Megan Roberts, an administrative graduate assistant from Fort Walton Beach, Florida, will also be seen conducting the band for a few pieces. 

“I’m conducting ‘Flourish for Wind Band’ by Ralph Vaughn Williams and ‘The Thunderer’ by John Phillip Sousa,” Roberts said. “My favorite is ‘The Thunderer’ because it’s such a classic march and it really showcases the classic military band sound.”

Rehearsals for the band began back in August and Guy expressed how much both the band and his directing has grown since then.

“Over the past few months, the band has grown in maturity and shown more musicianship,” Guy said. “This is my second year as a graduate student, so I have more experience being in front of the ensemble than I did last year. 

“I believe I have been communicating more clearly this year and showing exactly how to shape the musical line.”

Roberts said she also noticed improvements in her skills throughout the process. 

“When conducting the band, my first consideration is to show the expression and musical phrasing that I want to elicit,” Roberts said. “Although this is a skill I’m still developing, the pieces I chose this semester gave me an opportunity to diversify the way I conduct to show various styles.”

Though band members have been rehearsing since August, there are many obstacles that they have had to overcome to get to where they are now. 

“With marching band, classes and other ensembles, we only get one rehearsal a week in the fall, so putting the program together with limited time has been challenging,” Roberts said. 

Kayla Cooper, a senior elementary education major from Andalusia, plays clarinet in the ensemble. 

“The beginning of the semester is always a rough one, with the various musician levels and challenging pieces attempting to come together,” Cooper said. “It took us quite some time to find our sound, but I believe we’ve finally come together as a band to provide a distinctive sound that makes these pieces flow so well.”

Though there are many challenges for a band when preparing for a new performance, there are many rewarding aspects as well. 

“The most rewarding part for me has been watching the band’s improvement over the past few months and seeing them grow as an ensemble,” Guy said. 

“Being given a challenging piece at the beginning of the semester and mastering it by the end of the semester is always a rewarding experience,” Cooper said. “Each of our pieces offers some form of a challenge and I’d say we’ve managed to learn, understand and play these pieces to the best of our abilities. 

“We’ve definitely grown as a band and as individual musicians thanks to this semester.”

Though some of the pieces being played may not be easily recognizable, Roberts and Cooper pointed out a few pieces that were likely to “stand out” to the audience. 

“From the whole program, I think ‘Arctic Fire’ will stand out the most because the piece depicts both chaos and order in such a stark contrast that is easy to envision for the audience,” Roberts said.

“I think the message for ‘Our Castaways’ will really hit home to most audience members, specifically the ones with pets,” Cooper said. “This piece, written by Julie Giroux, is a dedication to the animals that get rescued, the families that rescue them and the animals that never get rescued. 

“It’s a very emotional piece considering its message, and the climax towards the end, followed by the dwindling ending, will surely bring a tear to some eyes. The program offers such fun, unique and beautiful pieces that I believe anyone could pick at least one piece they liked.”

The school of music encourages to come out and hear and see the concert for themselves. 

“This concert is going to be fun and showcase the major growth these students have shown,” Roberts said. “This ensemble has come a long way since I got to Troy for my undergrad in 2012, and everyone should see for themselves how much they have matured.”

“The performance demonstrates the quality musicianship and artistry that we produce here in the John M. Long School of Music, and the students have worked hard to put on a great performance,” Guy said. 

The concert will take place on Monday, Nov. 18, in the Crosby Theater, and admission will be free.

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