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.”