By Danielle Bettendorf Staff Writer
The Susquehanna symphonic band performed a concert on Nov. 20 at 2:30 p.m. in Stretansky Concert Hall.
According to first-year Elias Assad, who played the string bass, the band worked to improve the repertoire each time they met.
Prior to the concert, Assad said: “[Practices have] been going pretty well. Each time we meet, we look at different pieces.”
“When we look at each piece, we single out what’s wrong with it and build upon that,” Assad continued.
The band performed “Chester: Overture for Band” by William Schuman and “Riften Wed” by Julie Giroux.
The band also performed “Scenes from ‘The Louvre’” by Norman Dello Joio, “Celebrations” by John Zdechlik, “Flourish for Wind Band” by Ralph Vaughan Williams, “Tails aus dem Vood Viennoise” by Bill Connor and “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson.
Eric Hinton, associate professor of music and the director of bands, said he chose the pieces based on the students’ musical skills and also based on what both the band and the audience will enjoy.
“I choose the repertoire based on the capabilities of the ensemble,” Hinton said. “I’m looking for works that will challenge them and help them grow.”
“I also try to create an interesting and varied program that will interest the players and the audience,” Hinton added.
According to Hinton, the pieces chosen vary both in form and the time period during which they were composed.
“The works on this program span from 1939 to 2013 and embrace many different styles,” Hinton said.
For example, one of the pieces takes inspiration from the 2011 video game “Skyrim.”
Julie Giroux, the composer, described the world of “Skyrim” as being one in which love is “a gift worthy of all the joy and pain it demands.”
Other pieces had more of a historical influence and drew on the influence of previous musical compositions.
“We’re also doing a work by William Schuman based on a revolutionary war tune of William Billings,” Hinton said.
Hinton also singled out a work by Bill Connor, which is made up of three sections: “Cemetery,” “Dawn Assault” and “Just Retribution.”
“The biggest work on the program is written by a British composer Bill Connor,” Hinton said. “This is a 22-minute work comprised of three movements that serve as a sort of commentary on our increasing inhumanity.”
With seven pieces and a wide variety of genres, audience members expressed their thoughts on the band’s performance.
“This is my first band concert here at [Susquehanna], and I thought it was phenomenal,” first-year Vanessa Lloyd said. “It had a wide variety of different kinds of music, and it was great.”
With regards to the pieces, Hinton also said that there are some technical aspects that might have seemed new to audiences.
“[The] Bill Connor piece has aleatoric elements,” Hinton said. “Some of the woodwinds play melodic material in a purposefully uncoordinated manner.”
“This piece also requires some extended techniques that ask flutes and clarinets to play and sing at the same time,” Hinton continued. “We’ve had quite a bit of fun with that.”
The Nov. 20 performance was the first of three annual concerts involving the symphonic band.