The Lawrence University Wind Ensemble performed their
only concert for Winter Term on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. in the Lawrence
Memorial Chapel. The theme of the concert was “Perspectives” and included works
ranging from Mozart to a 2017 piece on the topic of school shootings.
The first half of the concert consisted of “Serenade No.
10 in B-flat (‘Gran Partita’)” by Mozart. This selection included faculty
members along with students in a small chamber music setting. Associate
Professors of Music Nora Lewis ’99 on oboe and David Bell on clarinet,
Instructor of Music Carl Rath ’75 on bassoon and Assistant Professor of Music
Ann Ellsworth on horn played alongside members of the Lawrence University Wind
In addition to faculty members and current students,
alumnus Emmet Jackson ’18 on double bass also performed in the first half of
the concert in the Mozart piece. Following the “Gran Partita,” a brief
intermission was held.
Following intermission, Assistant Professor of Music
Matthew Arau ’97 began to conduct the group. Arau was a guest conductor for
this concert, for typically Associate Dean of the Conservatory and Professor of
Music Andrew Mast conducts the Wind Ensemble. Mast did conduct the first and
the final two pieces.
Arau, conductor of the Lawrence Symphonic Band, guest
conducted for this concert cycle due to the logistical struggles of Mast
conducting for the opera as well. Arau selected and conducted two pieces,
“Fanfare Ritmico” by Jennifer Higdon and “The Eyes of the World are Upon You”
by Jennifer Jolley.
Jolley was inspired to create “The Eyes of the World are
Upon You” after reading an article about guns being allowed on Texas campuses.
The bill allowing students and faculty members to carry concealed handguns into
university buildings was put into effect on the 50th anniversary of the
University of Texas (UT) Tower Shootings.
This shooting at UT Austin was America’s first campus
mass shooting. It took place on Monday, Aug. 1, 1966, and 17 people were killed
during the killing spree. As noted in the Perspectives program, Jolley wrote
“The Eyes of the World are Upon You” with the intent that “This piece is a
celebration of life: to those who died that day, but also to those survived.”
Senior Liam McDonald and fifth-year Emma Reading spoke
prior to the performance of “The Eyes of the World are Upon You,” describing
the emotional process that went into rehearsals. Preparing this sensitive piece
opened up discussions about modern violence as well as the process of grief.
Arau encouraged circle rehearsals, in which students would sit in a large
circle not necessarily in their respective sections. These circle rehearsals
encouraged discussions as well as different emotions and potential portrayals
of the piece.
Following “The Eyes of the World are Upon You,” the
ensemble played “The Spheres” by Ola Gjeilo, which was performed without a
conductor, forcing the musicians to be much more attentive to each other’s
movements. This lack of a conductor also created an environment of
collaboration, which modeled a typical classroom discussion, during rehearsals.
The concert concluded with “Dionysiaques” by Florent Schmitt.
Mast referred to the concert cycle as a project and a great
endeavor of collaborations amongst students, faculty and conductors. Although
the theme of perspectives was chosen retroactively, the pieces and the ways
they were all performed fell neatly into this idea. Following the concert,
audience members were encouraged to share their perspectives or responses to
any of the pieces on post-it notes that were provided in the programs.