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Every year Hillsdale musi­cians join stu­dents from nearby schools to perform. Robert Liv­ingston | Courtesy

On the stage of the Matthews Per­forming Arts Center, I felt excitement grow among the wind ensemble as our guest con­ductor stepped onto the podium. He raised his baton, gave us the downbeat, and we began.

We had spent the whole Sat­urday leading up to that point – six hours in total – rehearsing the concert’s four songs, including a march by John Philip Sousa, “The Glory of the Yankee Navy,” and a lyrical work by com­poser Luigi Zaninelli, “Roma Sacra (Sacred Rome).” Fighting through the tiredness we were all feeling, we artic­u­lated each note as we played.

Each year, the music department selects stu­dents to join other student musi­cians from nearby schools to perform a concert. Despite how gru­elling these days can be, per­formers are drawn to par­tic­ipate for the chance to play great music together. This is espe­cially true for us who par­tic­i­pated from Hillsdale, senior Anna Eby and freshmen Natasha De Vir­gilio and myself.

As we per­formed “Roma Sacra,” the ensemble played del­i­cately: con­trolled, and well in tune. This level of sonority is rare among wind players, espe­cially wind players who have not played together before the day of the concert. “Roma Sacra” allows for a slower, more serious approach that elicits emotion.

Eby said she loved the music selected for the group.

“They were all so good, but I really enjoyed ‘Vulcan.’ It was a lot of fun and kind of uncon­ven­tional,” Eby said.

Vulcan is a new-age piece that is bom­bastic in style and sounds a little bit like music in Star Trek, from which it draws its name.

Those in the audience enjoyed the music, too. Director of the Hillsdale Com­munity Wind Sym­phony Robert Liv­ingston noted the mature sound of the ensemble that had spent only a day together.

“It sounded great,” Liv­ingston said. “I think it was one of the best honor bands we’ve had.”