Music from the movies to fill the chapel

Cory Robertson

Sweeping, cinematic music will fill the Lawrence chapel at 8 p.m. this Saturday, Jan. 13. “Music from Stage and Screen,” the first Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band concert of 2007, promises a night of music the whole family — from music majors to math majors — can enjoy.
The concert will include old favorites, like the “Prologue” from “West Side Story” and Williams and Hunsberger’s “Star Wars Trilogy,” as well as a handful of lesser-known works, such as Copland’s “Red Pony,” written for a 1949 film adaptation of John Steinbeck’s short story of the same name, and Woolfenden’s “Illyrian Dances,” inspired by Shakespeare’s fantasyland in “Twelfth Night.”
“The pieces may be dramatic, but the theme is music of the movies, so all the pieces should be something the audience can recognize and really get into,” said Allison Berry, a member of Wind Ensemble. The concert features “some of the most fun rep[ertoire] I’ve touched here at Lawrence,” said the senior.
Fellow ensemble member Evan Jacobson hopes the audience will feel the same way. “The goal of this concert is to play recognizable music in order to gain interest from people who don’t normally connect with band repertoire,” the junior said
“Students should come to this concert because the music will be recognizable and familiar.”
The concert’s accessible program, though, shouldn’t amount to boredom. Jacobson points to Gershwin’s “Catfish Row,” from “Porgy and Bess,” a particularly intriguing piece.
“The music is very tuneful and melodic, while also being very rhythmically interesting,” he said. “Gershwin’s use of harmony is so colorful and passionate.”
The piece will feature two vocal professors, soprano Patrice Michaels and baritone John Gates, as soloists. Berry gushed over the singers’ stage presences. “They are not only breathtaking in their performance,” she said, “but hilarious to work with. It should be a lot of fun.”
So much fun, however, does not come at the expense of quality. “I would never put something in front of my students that wasn’t first-class music,” said conductor Andrew Mast, “and I believe Saturday’s program fits all those demands.”
Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band have come a long way in preparing for Saturday’s concert.
“Capturing the essence of film has been challenging,” admitted Jacobson. Nonetheless, ensemble members seem confident in their upcoming performance, as does their conductor.
“I hope every piece will be a highlight,” said Mast. Considering the epic character of the pieces in question, his wish doesn’t seem so out of place.