The Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Winds amazed the crowd and performed beautifully for a full house last Tuesday night.
Despite the announcement of transitioning to online classes for the majority of Cal Poly Pomona’s campus in response to the coronavirus pandemic, supportive friends, family and music lovers filled the Music Recital Hall.
This concert marked the first student ensemble concert of the spring semester.
The ensemble opened the concert with conductor Mitchell Fennell. After intermission, the Symphonic Winds performed with Rickey Badua, director of bands at CPP, and Joseph Higgins, the guest conductor of the night.
As the lights dimmed, the Wind Ensemble stepped on stage. The players started with scales as a warmup before Fennell made his way to the stage.
The ensemble went straight into its first song, “Kirkpatrick Fanfare” by Andrew Boysen Jr.
The arrangement was based on an Irish jig and featured various rhythms and brass sounds.
Fennell then turned to the crowd and welcomed the full house to a wonderful evening of music from both ensembles. He said they had an exciting concert in store for them and hoped “they all stay to enjoy this fantastic program” from both ensembles.
The set stayed consistent with the theme of songs that sounded like they belonged in a different era and place, such as the Primal Age and the deep South.
After the ensemble’s set, the audience was loud with cheers and a long round of applause. After the musicians left the stage, the lights brightened, and a number of people left to congratulate their favorite musicians.
After intermission, Symphonic Winds took the stage for their set.
The ensemble started with “Ecstatic Fanfare” by Steven Bryant.
According to Bryant’s message in the program notes, he described the piece as “this moment of celebration explodes into elation and the work rallies toward an energetic, powerful conclusion.”
After the first song, Higgins led the ensemble in the song, “The Engulfed Cathedral” by Claude Debussy, a song that was both beautiful and haunting.
Higgins spent last week with the Symphonic Winds as conductor. He is a professor at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey.
Higgins received a Billy Bronco stuffed animal as a token of appreciation from the music department.
He joked afterward that receiving the stuffed animal “was totally worth the trip.”
After, the Symphonic Winds played two more songs. During the song, “Angels in the Architecture,” soprano singer Guadalupe Ortiz performed behind the audience.
The crowd was surprised as audience members turned around to see where the beautiful singing was coming from.
As the ensemble ended the set and fell silent, the crowd yet again gave a loud round of applause.
The next concert for the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Winds is scheduled for May 6, but due to the recent coronavirus pandemic, all events hosted by Cal Poly Pomona with more than 100 attendees are canceled until further notice.
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