Category Archives: Bands

A CSU Marching Band Alum’s Tribute to Hughes Stadium

Hughes Stadium after the crowd has left the game. Colorado State University played their last football game at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium against New Mexico. CSU won 49-31. November 19, 2016

Hughes Stadium after the crowd has left the game. Colorado State University played their last football game at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium against New Mexico. CSU won 49-31. November 19, 2016

~Written the morning of the final game at Hughes Stadium on Nov. 19, 2016 by Jennifer Clary Jacobs

In a way, you could say it’s all because of Hughes Stadium…

The Fuller family moved to Colorado in the early seventies when my dad, Fred, held football coaching positions, first at University of Colorado, then at Colorado State University. In those years, we lived and breathed football and I was a sideline kid who loved being a part of it all.

One of my earliest childhood memories is of Hughes Stadium, that giant concrete bowl under the “A.” It was 1976 and Bob Dylan had performed (and recorded) an epic concert at Hughes in drenching rain. Due to the soaking and the fans, the turf was destroyed and had to be replaced. My dad thought I’d enjoy watching the big machines at work and took me out to the stadium for the afternoon.

The stadium was bright and warm and basically empty, and I was happily running up and down the west stands, singing (my dad describes me as perpetually having my mouth wide open, either talking, smiling, or singing). Suddenly, a bee flew into my mouth and stung me; when I think about it, I can still feel bee fuzz on my tongue. I cried and ran to daddy, who took me home. I ate nothing but broth for a day or two until the swelling went down, but the memory of that day has not diminished.

The years and games blend together until Jr. High when I fell head-over-heels in love with the CSU Marching Band. As a little girl, I was always as interested in the band and cheerleaders as much as the game, but this was different, it felt different.

The memory of Drum Major Greg Gilmore, with his whistle, mace, and Q-tip hat, leading the high-stepping band out of the tunnel onto that field is remarkably vivid, and I was overcome with the need to be in marching band! Since I played violin, I decided to become a flag twirler.

In those days, the Fort Collins High School Purple Regiment was one of the best bands in the state, winning field, parade, and Winter Guard competitions each season. CSU held an enormous band day competition where the winning band performed at half-time, and FCHS marched on the Hughes Stadium field many times. As the local band, and a hard-working group of high school friends, it didn’t get any better than that!

I think every Fort Collins kid wonders if leaving the hometown is necessary to feel complete – UCLA and CU were options for me – but I’ve never been able to do it. Attending Colorado State University is one of my best and defining decisions; this university and town are my heart and my soul.

It could be argued that no one spends more time at Hughes Stadium than the marching band, arriving five or six hours before kick-off to load-in and rehearse, and being the last ones to leave after post-game performances. Game days are easily 8-10 hours, sometimes on quintessential Colorado fall days and sometimes in highly questionable elements!

The indelible memory of my first game day as a member of the CSU Marching Band at Hughes Stadium includes a sunrise rehearsal as kick-off was often at 11 a.m., the all-consuming feeling of the cadence being played in the tunnel before show time, and just about coming out of my skin when the cannon went off during the National Anthem (it was the tradition to not warn the freshman about the cannon, and the cannon used to be located ON THE FIELD in the north end zone!). But the most addictive and powerful feeling was taking the field at halftime, chin up, perfect posture, sun in our eyes, cheering fans, and that beloved Fight Song. This is what band kids do, it is what we live for!

I was never willing to walk away from those early Hughes Stadium feelings. It’s why I became a band kid, It’s why I helped build the Alumni Marching Band, it’s why I jumped at the opportunity to work for the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, it’s why I got a better camera. Being with the CSU Marching Band at Hughes Stadium is what I do!

I’m grateful that my daughter Ellie and I have so many shared Hughes memories as she grew up spending Saturdays under the “A.” It was also at Hughes Stadium where, over twenty years later, a certain Fred Jacobs tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I remembered him. Look at us now! (Fred and Jennifer were married in 2014.)

The wins, the losses, the friendships, the blazing sun, lots of snow, Sonny Lubick, tearing down the goal posts, Fum’s Song, the Border Wars, the tailgates, the night games, feeding the band, flag routines and drill, the sunrises, the sunsets, homecomings, lots of hugs, the Fight Song and Spell Yell, the cannon, the “A,” 1000s of photos, the “Ortal,” miles of marching, heartbreakers, and celebrations…my heart is full of them.

When I arrive at that empty stadium this afternoon and walk through that tunnel onto that beautiful turf with the giant Ram head in the middle, I will soak up one more game day at Hughes Stadium. Tonight, after the lights have been turned off and I’ve sung the alma mater with my band, I’ll linger into the wee hours and leave one final time with a lifetime of memories.

Farewell Hughes…


Wind Symphony Southwest Tour: on the road with Emily Kerski, clarinet

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!

Wind Symphony Clarinets in concertThe 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
www.emilykerski.com


Wind Symphony on Southwest Tour and Headed to Grand Junction

John McGuire practices on the bus ride to Grand Junction.

John McGuire practices on the bus ride to Grand Junction.

After a rousing concert at the University Center for the Arts on Tuesday, the Wind Symphony left early Wednesday morning on a bus bound for the Western Slope. Ahead lies concerts in Grand Junction, Albuquerque, N.M., and Monument, Colo. This first leg of the trip is incredibly scenic going over the Rockies. It’s many of our players’ first time to the Western Slope and there have been countless pictures taken from the bus windows. But even with all the wonderful views, many of our brass players have felt the need to get some practice time in – unconventional, but effective!

This first night away from Fort Collins brought us to Grand Junction High School where Mr. Isaak Lavatie hosted us in their acoustically terrific auditorium! While we all love performing in the beautiful Griffin Concert Hall at CSU, getting out and experiencing a variety of high quality acoustical settings is so important for our students, especially when it also allows us to come to an area that hasn’t heard our music for a good many years.

CSU Composition Professor James David’s piece, Big Four on the River (2014), was a hit, being enthusiastically received, as was Grainger’s English Waltz conducted by Richard Frey. The piece that I am soloing on, The Glass Bead Game by James Beckel, is such a high energy romp!

John McGuire and Wesley Ferreira following the Wind Symphony concert in Grand Junction

John McGuire and Wesley Ferreira following the Wind Symphony concert in Grand Junction

Every performance can be such a unique and exciting experience (even different performances of the same piece!) that it’s always a blast to stand onstage and see what magic happens on any particular night. This night was no disappointment! I haven’t talked about this with Professors Wesley Ferreira, Richard Frey, or Rebecca Phillips, but I suspect they are of like mind.

After ending our long day with a stellar performance, we headed off to the hotel to catch a few precious hours of shut eye before leaving Grand Junction just before sunrise for Albuquerque. Let’s see what magic we can make happen tomorrow!

Dr. John McGuire
Assistant Professor of Horn
Colorado State University


CSU Faculty Chamber Winds 2014 Tour Personnel and Repertoire

Repertoire

Old American Songs by Aaron Copland, trans. Christopher Van Hof

Petite Suite, mvts. I, IV by Claude Debussy, trans. Brakkee

Notturno, Op. 24 by Felix Mendelssohn

Overture and Arias from Figaro by W.A. Mozart, trans. by Johann Went, ed. Richard Frey

Introduction to Zelmira by Gioachino Rossini, arr. Wenzel Sedlák, ed. Richard Frey

Barber of Seville Overture by Gioachino Rossini, arr. Wenzel Sedlák, ed. Richard Frey

Andante and Hungarian Rondo by Carl Maria von Weber

Golden Jubilee March by John Phillip Sousa, ed. Richard Frey

Stars and Stripes Forever by John Phillip Sousa, arr. Christopher Van Hof

Personnel

Flute
Michelle Stanley
Sierra Hayden

Oboe
Shane Werts
Andrew Jacobsen

Clarinet
Wesley Ferreira
Copper Ferreira

Bassoon
Gary Moody
Tom Bittinger       

Horn
John McGuire
Selena Adams
Travis Howell

Trumpet
Steven Marx
Robert Bonner

Trombone
Christopher Van Hof

Voice
John Seesholz, Baritone

Conductor
Richard Frey