Musicians pictured on stage in Lawrence Memorial Chapel. Photo by David Baldwin.
On Saturday, April 14, while the majority of the student body was presumably cowering from the ongoing blizzard, Lawrence University’s Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band held a joint concert at the Memorial Chapel. Conducted by Andrew Mast and alumnus Matthew Arau ‘97, along with guest conductor and Assistant Professor of Music Mark Dupere, the concert created a sense of warmth, combatting the pounding snow and howling wind outside. Both groups showcased their wide range by playing various songs which differentiated from one another in composition and speed.
The first song played by the Wind Ensemble was “March, op. 99” by Sergei Prokofiev. This piece consumed the chapel with its loud volume and fast pace; there was never a dull moment while the song was performed. Even though the song was quick to finish, there was a wondrous range of sound packed in its short life. When it came to a close, I was left thoroughly entertained and wanted to hear more.
The remaining songs of the Wind Ensemble’s set, “First Essay” and “Anahita,” both had compositions that fought for control in quietness or piercing pitches. Tension and relief fluctuated throughout, cancelling one another with every introduction of an overpowering sound. At the end, “Anahita” concluded the set on a mellower note which contrasted the booming beginning of “March, op. 99.”
The Symphonic Band commenced their set after an intermission. “Festivo” was their first piece, and it was heavily influenced by the flute and oboe. The song was overwhelmingly optimistic in sound yet told a story through its chirpy climaxes. I felt the imagery of a vintage, Disney animal cartoon presented within this piece, due to its playful harmonies.
Afterwards, the Symphonic Band played “Chorale & Alleluia” and “Puszta.” The latter song consisted of four parts which all contrasted each other in speed and tempo. “Puszta” maintained an equal balance of flute and percussion, bringing together the separate control of both instruments from the first two songs. At the end of the concert, I sensed a theme of sonic cancellation throughout.
“Hidden Treasures” was a righteous name for the show on Saturday night. Those who attended were able to witness the true gem of music produced by the two bands. An aura of internal warmth and peace was expelled from the varying harmonies and sounds that played in the Chapel, unbeknownst to the student body hiding from the wrath of Blizzard Evelyn.