The Symphonic Band concert this weekend might have a bit of a different flavor than a regular concert-attender would expect.
The set, which is to be performed under the direction of Dr. Timothy McGarvey, is a diverse array of pieces and sounds.
Ask almost anyone in the band what their favorite piece is, and they’ll immediately shoot back “Angels in the Architecture” by Frank Ticheli. And it’s no wonder why—this piece strays from the typical symphonic instrumentation.
The song takes advantage of uncommon percussion pieces, using wet crystal wine glasses, humming and whirlies (long plastic tubes that are spun rapidly about in the air) to create an ambience that speaks to the theme of light versus dark in the world.
The piece opens with an “angel,” junior sopranist Rianna De Winkle, singing from the balcony of Christ Chapel before the band’s passage of darkness begins to slowly take over.
“It’s a different experience than you’re used to from a band concert,” said junior Jessica Kleveland. “You can’t just sit back, because there’s so much confusion and beauty, and you’re waiting for it to all come together.”
Another highlight of the show will be composer Gardell Simons’ “Atlantic Zephyrs.” The piece is written in a lively early 20th century pop style and features senior Courtney Davis on the trombone. Davis was selected for the solo piece after winning the Ritsema Scholarship Competition last spring.
“I’m so excited to be able to use the musical gifts God has given me and get to work with the whole band,” Davis said of her upcoming featured solo.
The concert shifts gears once again as the band performs John Mackey’s “Strange Humors.” The piece takes influences from African drumming and Middle Eastern melodic flavors, unifying them through the sound of the djembe drum.
“My favorite part of the Mackey piece is getting to bow the vibes. It creates a really odd and distinct mood,” said sophomore percussion player Ashley Van Wyhe.
The band will also perform a few pieces that might be more familiar to listeners. The band’s arrangement of “Wayfaring Stranger” by Steve Rouse features the familiar folk song. The band will also perform Percy Grainger’s “Children’s March,” a piece that many will recognize.
“Grainger wrote because his goal was to bring all the world’s music to all the world,” said junior clarinet player Meghan Schuster.
Other pieces to be performed include Francois-Joseph Gossec’s “Military Symphony in F” and Norman Dello Joio’s “Satiric Dances.”
“We’re playing my favorite and the most exciting songs all year,” said junior saxophone player Steve Ehlers. “Coming to band concerts is a great way to support a group that comes together from all across campus to work hard and create.”
Sophomore Aaron Nash is in agreement with Ehlers.
“I don’t think most of campus even knows about us or, not to be prideful or anything, how good we are,” Nash said.
Dr. McGarvey spoke to the importance of attending live music events.
“As humans, we’re the only thing on earth that God has given the power to intentionally create,” McGarvey said. “We should come together to celebrate these gifts. Because we are to live in God’s image, we should strive to be creators and appreciators of that creativity, just as God stepped back at the end of the day and said ‘It was good.’”
The Symphonic Band concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17 in Christ Chapel.
The admission is free, and band members strongly encourage all of the campus to come and support their hard work.