The CSU Wind Symphony has been rolling through the southwest this week on our 2016 tour of Colorado and New Mexico! It’s been a terrific opportunity for us to share some amazing repertoire with a wider audience and show off the accomplishments and growth of the band program and CSU school of music as a whole.
We have been preparing this epic program of music since the end of Feb., and it’s quite a collection: newly composed works alongside classics for band, and almost every genre of wind music featured as well. Of particular joy has been the chance to work with our two faculty soloists, Dr. John McGuire (horn) and Dr. Wesley Ferreira (clarinet) on their solo concerti. We also seized the opportunity to showcase Big Four on the River, a piece written by our composition professor Dr. David, and dedicated to our fantastic director of bands, Dr. Phillips. The incredible variety of our program is invigorating for both the players and the audience. The concert concludes with the exuberant Bernstein Divertimento, which finishes with a breathless, life-affirming march!
The tour kicked off on Tuesday night with our send-off concert on home turf at CSU. This included our new graduate conducting student Georgianna Oswald making her debut with the Wind Symphony, leading us through three lively pieces by Percy Grainger. The next morning, we hit the road! I was excited we had the chance to play this concert three more times thanks to the tour – we work incredibly hard preparing a concert program, and it’s sometimes hard to see it all end after one one performance, so to play it a few more times and enjoy the pieces that much more was a blast.
And so, with our bus and a myriad of percussion instruments carefully packed into two other vehicles, we wound through spectacular Colorado mountains, across sparse shrub land in the southwest corner of the state, and over fascinating New Mexico rock formations on our way to the three tour destinations: Grand Junction (Colo.), Las Lunas (N.M.), and Monument (Colo.)!
The concerts were very well-received in each host high school by an enthusiastic audience of local students and community members. Each host band director conducted us on one of our pieces, Barber’s Commando March, and it was fun to talk with many of the students after our performances.
Being a part of this particular clarinet section has been really special. It’s a talented and close-knit group with a huge range, from freshmen to second year grad students. Playing together all semester has allowed us to refine and unify our sound.
Wind Symphony is a relatively small ensemble (we all fit on one bus!), and I love the focus and precision this allows us to have. I also love learning from our fearless leader, Dr. Phillips. Her vision and relentless drive pushes us to be our very best and her presence as a conductor leads to truly memorable and powerful music-making.
As a senior, embarking on this tour has been the perfect way to end my time in the CSU music program, celebrating the great music and great people that have been part of my life in the past four years.
~ submitted by Emily G. Kerski