Wind ensemble hosts first concert of the semester

Norman Wika, director of bands, conducts the SVSU Wind Ensemble in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. Vanguard Photographer | Audrey Bergey

The Rhea Miller Recital hall hosted a wind ensemble concert Thursday evening.

Director of Bands Norman Wika was the conductor of the night’s concert, which began at 7:30 PM, Oct. 7.

The program consisted of six pieces of music, including A Little Tango Music by Adam Gorb, This Cruel Moon by John Mackey, Fantasy for Various & Sundries by Luigi Zaninelli, Arith-Metric No. 1 by Brian Balmages, Song of Hope by Peter Meechan and Deus ex Machina by Randall Standridge.

Music education junior Madison Richardson performed in the concert on the saxophone.

She said her favorite piece was Deus ex Machina because it involved performing while a pre-recorded track of music played on the speakers in the recital hall.

She said it took a lot of time and effort to rehearse that piece.

Overall, Richardson said rehearsing for the concert covered a span of around six weeks.

Music education freshman Connor Woolf said he attended the performance to support his colleagues and hear music one does not typically hear in a wind ensemble setting.

One of Woolf’s favorite pieces of the evening was A Little Tango Music.

“I’m a big fan of Latin music … I joined the Caribbean steelpan band we have on campus, the Valley Steel, it just reminded me so much of that,” he said. “Latin music has so many non-Western elements that were developed on their own. It’s so interesting to hear them playing.”

Woolf said that the tango music, which originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina, really brings the culture of Latin America to life and is timely for Hispanic Heritage Month.

Music junior Erik Gillette said he was interested in the concert because of its modernity.

“I am very much a modern-minded musician, and hearing stuff from 2000 and onward is really cool,” he said.

One of Gillette’s favorite pieces was Arith-Metric No. 1.

“That played into the part of me that’s still a kid,” he said. “[I enjoyed] very much the fantastical nature of it along with how random everything came in.”

Another piece he enjoyed was This Cruel Moon, which follows the story of the

nymph Kalypso who heals and sleeps with Odysseus for many years before he leaves her to be with his family.

Gillette said that this piece in particular lulled him into a sense of safety.

He said that it would inspire a feeling of exploration and wonder but would keep him in a general sense of comfort and contentment.

Gillette and Woolf both shared a love for Song of Hope.

Song of Hope is a piece arranged by Peter Meechan that is dedicated to his friend Ryan Anthony.

Anthony suffered from Multiple Myeloma and passed away in June 2020.

“In these challenging times of COVID-19, of seeing the destruction and hatred on our streets, and where love and empathy feel devastatingly lacking, the core idea of arranging this piece for flex ensemble comes directly from the message Ryan carried with him every day of his incredible battle with cancer: hope,” Meecham said in the event program.

As the world continues to live through the pandemic that has been with us since March 2020, Gillette and Woolf said that this piece struck deep.

“I can relate to that on a personal level with losing friends and family and having friends losing family members,” Woolf said. “It’s such a heartfelt piece, there’re no words to describe it.”

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