Wind Ensemble, Concert Band perform American classics

By Mary DiRienzo
Correspondent

Laprade guides the musicians through their performance (Diana Solano / Distribution Manager).

The TCNJ Wind Ensemble and Concert Band performed at Kendall Hall Mainstage on Friday, Oct. 18 at “The American Dream” concert. 

The program, which celebrated American composers and music, was conducted by music professor and director of TCNJ Bands Eric Laprade. 

After a 7:15 p.m. pre-concert discussion with Laprade, members of the TCNJ Wind Ensemble and Alberto Parrini, a music professor who performed with the cello for that night, the concert opened with the TCNJ Concert Band. 

The first piece of the night was “Overture for Winds” composed by Charles Carter. The composition remains one of Carter’s greatest works. Throughout this piece, there were three varying themes that created the dimension of the work. The opening burst with energy, while the middle was slower and expressive and the last theme repeated the first, building to the climactic ending. 

Next up was “Tribute,” a piece that was composed by the contemporary composer Travis J. Cross. As a dedication to James Hubert Grimes, Cross’ grandfather, conductors often use this piece to honor whomever they choose. The piece closed with alternating trumpet solos, which allowed the brass section to shine. 

“Candide Suite” was the third piece in the program and swept the stage. Composed by Leonard Berstein, “Candide” is an operetta based on Volitare’s novella of the same name. “Candide” opened on Broadway in 1956 and became a popular theatre piece for music schools. This suite is comprised of four numbers from the musical, highlighting the key moments in the story, such as “Glitter and Be Gay” and “The Best of All Possible Worlds.”

To end the set, the band played “Strange Humors,” which is composed by another contemporary composer, John Mackey. The heart of the piece comes from the Djembe played by Antonio Morra, a sophomore percussion music education major. The piece opened with an English horn solo performed by Mackenzie Miller, a sophomore music education major.

After a brief intermission, next up was the TCNJ Wind Ensemble.

The opening piece was “An Outdoor Overture” by composer Aaron Copland. The piece began with a powerful introduction from the whole ensemble, which then moved into a trumpet solo performed by Bryan Cook, a junior music education major.  

Next up was “Half Mast Inhibition” by Charles Mingus. The piece featured Parrini on cello and a select chamber ensemble comprised of a few of the Wind Ensemble members. 

The following piece, “Arahita” by Roshanne Etezady, bears the name of the Iranain goddess of fertility and healing, which was highlighted in this three-movement composition. The inspiration of the piece originates from a Persian poem of the same name. The three movements share an element of nighttime and sleep.

Finally, the night closed off with two American marches titled “Country Band March” by Charles Ives and “Easter Monday on the White House Lawn” by John Philip Sousa. “Country Band March” was a nostalgic piece that displayed popular tunes from Ives’ childhood, ait included elements of ragtime that enlivened the march.

As the concert concluded, family and friends swarmed the performers of both ensembles. 

James Mikula, a junior trumpet music education major, played in the concert as a culmination of his hard work so far this semester. 

“It’s a lot of fun playing for the audiences and showing them our hard work,” Mikula said. “Being in the band family builds (amazing) relationships, (which) makes making music more fun.”

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