Power of wind music in contrasts
Audry Dighans | copy editor
The Pitt State Wind Ensemble was a showcase of elite musical talent put on at Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday, Oct. 8.
“Everyone performing tonight had to audition to be in the ensemble,” said Jeff Chang, freshman in music education. “This is the elite group of musicians at PSU.”
The concert was sponsored by the PSU Department of Music and the songs performed lived up to the event’s name, “Contrasts,” in several ways.
Each piece featured different instruments and created distinct vibes directly contrasting with the piece performed before it.
“They [the older pieces] have a different style about them,” said Jennifer Dey, sophomore in nursing. “The concert was about the contrast of the two time eras, old and new.”
The evening began with “Vienna Philharmonic Fanfare” composed by Richard Strauss in 1924 for the Vienna Philharmonic’s first benefit ball. The brass section of the ensemble performed the piece.
The next song featured the entire ensemble performing “Firefly,” composed by Ryan George in 2008.
“We had a unique opportunity while preparing Firefly and Symphony No. 9,”said Noey De Leon, sophomore in music education. “During rehearsal we were able to Skype with the composers and receive feedback from them. I’ve never met a composer live before and to have the chance of performing their piece for them was a very rewarding experience.”
“Firefly” was followed by “They Hung Their Harps in the Willows,” “Variants on a Mediaeval Tune,” “Symphony No. 9,” “El Camino Real” and lastly, “The Klaxon.”
“Symphony No. 9 was my favorite song to perform,” Dey said.
De Leon enjoyed “Camino Real” by Alfred Reed the most.
“Being in the French horn section, there were plenty of horn features that I enjoyed,” he said.
De Leon and Dey added that the songs performed by the ensemble are chosen by Craig Fuchs, director of Honors College and conductor of the Wind Ensemble.
“Dr. Fuchs gives us the pieces at the start of the semester and we spend several weeks practicing,” Dey said. “We rehearse all together and we also break into sections to prepare for our concerts.”
Dey says the next concert for the Wind Ensemble will be on Sunday, Dec. 8, just in time for Christmas.
The concert will feature a variety of Latin songs for the first half and finish with Christmas songs. There will also be a sing-along afterward.
“Everyone puts so much effort into our concerts,” she said. “Wind Ensemble takes up a lot of time and it’s great to feel like people listen. It’s one of the best feelings in the world when the band is coming up to a particularly difficult part of the song where we’ve all struggled to play it and then it just comes together so easily on the night of the concert.”
Audience member Casey Morgan, freshman in communication education, took note of that struggle.
“I’m here to support my fellow students,” she said. “I know they spend hours preparing and working on these pieces and it’s great to hear the result of all that hard work.”