Symphonic Band to hold fall concert Oct. 9

Hailey Beck, For the Yellow Jacket

Today, the Waynesburg University Symphonic Band holds its fall concert. The band, which is mostly non-major members, will start their performance at 5:15 p.m. in the Marsh Center on the lower floor of Roberts Chapel.

Unlike other concerts, the band performs in the same place they practice.

“I think inviting an audience into your rehearsal space, like we do for these concerts, kind of gives ownership to the ensemble of the space,” said Ronda DePriest, director of the Music Program. “[It says,] ‘thanks for coming into our house, thanks for coming and being a part of our family.’”

After only eight rehearsals, the band is excited to show an audience what they have accomplished. Tré Thomas, senior history major, is band president and will be playing the baritone saxophone in this concert.

“I’m looking forward to people getting to hear our repertoire, honestly,” Thomas said. “We’ve put in a lot of time and a lot of effort into this music that we have, and a lot of it’s hard. It really is collegiate level. I think a lot of people don’t see the difference between a high school band and a college band … the music difficulty is so much harder.”

Selections of the program include “A Hymn for the Lost and the Living,” a memoriam to 9/11 by Eric Ewazen, John Mackey’s “Undertow,” and John Williams’ arrangement of the “Star Spangled Banner.”

“Undertow” is a band favorite among this concert’s setlist.

When describing the difficulty, Thomas said, “[the time signature] changes every other bar, so having to keep track of that and everybody moving together with that – it’s just impressive to play and also to listen to.”

This repertoire has been carefully chosen by DePriest, based on a six-point scale of difficulty for measuring band music. The theme, thought up by the students, is “things that matter.”

“I generally pick music that is kind of mid-range for these college kids to get started,” DePriest said.  “We’re talking about childhood remembrances, we’re talking about things in America that are worthy of our salute and our honor,” DePriest said. “This kind of had a theme that I wasn’t really thinking of, but [the students] seemed to have gained a theme out of what we’re working on.”

With all their rehearsals going well, the band is confident that they will perform well.

“This group that we have this semester, the way that we work, during rehearsals and things like that, is much more efficient,” Thomas said. “I feel like we get more done in our rehearsal time than we have in the past. We just go through so much work so quickly.”

The concert is free admission and will last about an hour.