Wind Ensemble enchants audience
By Lauren Jones
Audience members sat eagerly as they waited for the Wind Ensemble to take the stage in Walton Chapel Oct. 24. At 7:30 p.m., members walked onto the stage, sat in their seats and waited for the cue from conductor Nils Landsberg.
With a wave of his baton, Landsberg signaled the ensemble to play the first notes of a piece titled “Resonances I.” The chapel was quickly filled with a melodious sound generated by trumpets, clarinets, trombones, flutes, saxophones and many other instruments.
Audience members were moved by the piece’s long, harmonious notes that layered deep, solid bass with bright, warm trumpets. At the end of the piece, the audience cheered with approval and knew that the rest of the concert would be filled with music that was just as beautiful as the opening piece.
The ensemble’s second piece, “Bayou Breakdown,” was a reflection of the music of New Orleans.
Its lively beat and jazzy flair took the audience on a tour of the bayous of Louisiana.
Sophomore art major and member of the ensemble, Angela Sanchez, enjoyed performing the piece.
“I really liked ‘Bayou Breakdown,’” she said. “It was interesting. It was fast, and it was upbeat.”
The ensemble then played a beautiful Aaron Copeland piece, “Down a Country Lane.” Its use of flutes and clarinets make the piece moving and uplifting, and even members of the ensemble appeared to be playing each note with feeling.
As the applause subsided, a special guest was asked to come on stage.
Michelle Palmer, an instructor of clarinet at UMHB and principal clarinetist of the Temple Symphony Orchestra, joined the students in performing the arrangement “Black Dog,” a piece mimicking the musical style of Led Zeppelin and the guitar riffs of Jimi Hendrix.
Palmer’s clarinet solos sounded similar to the guitar solos performed by classic rock bands, and the audience could almost feel the electric current in the air.
Landsberg said Palmer’s performance was phenomenal.
“We’re very fortunate to have Michelle Palmer on our faculty here, and getting to showcase her and work with her has been a real treat for our students,” he said.
The ensemble then performed what was arguably one of the most beautiful arrangements of the night.
“Be Thou My Vision” showcased the group’s ability to take an old classic and make it their own. The piece was dedicated to ensemble member Christine Marrero, who was unable to attend the performance.
Another special guest then joined the group. William S. Carson, director of bands at Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is responsible for co-editing the last piece of the evening.
The ensemble performed “Spoon River” composed by Percy Grainger in 1933. Carson was honored to be present for the performance.
“I was very happy. They worked so hard, and I know that Grainger would have been pleased,” he said.
The piece, according to Landsberg, was a fitting choice since it has been 50 years since Grainger passed away.
“Percy Grainger is just a phenomenal composer,” Landsberg said. “To be able to have the opportunity to perform a relatively new work from him, and since this is the 50th anniversary of his death and to still have a new piece that’s really relatively unfamiliar to our ensemble is a real treat for us.”
Sanchez said the ensemble had been preparing for the performance “since before school started.”
Landsberg agreed that it definitely showed during the concert.
“I thought the performance was wonderful,” he said.
“The students really rose to the occasion and really inspired people through their music.”