On Sunday, December 2, 2012, at 2:30 p.m. in a packed Biemesderfer Concert Hall in the Winter Visual and Performing Art Center, the Millersville University Concert Band, Wind Ensemble and Orchestra presented their winter concert, “Fanfare, Fantasy and the Dance.”
It featured a wide array of modern mystical pieces, festive marches and instrumental dances, and recognizable orchestral pieces.
The MU Concert Band, conducted by Dr. Keith Wiley, opened the concert with “Liadov Fanfare” by Brian Beck, which was festive, majestic, and included interesting use of dynamics.
It was a strong way to start the concert and did a fine job setting the mood for it.
The next piece, “Meditation” by Dwayne S. Milburn, started on a slower and somber note, but became much louder and more powerful towards the end. It featured the woodwinds in several parts, especially the oboesand saxophones, and had a constant drum pulse throughout.
The last piece, “Color,” by Robert Margolis, was, as Wiley explained, based on five English country folk dances. The first part, “Stanes Morris” is dark yet bouncy, with its low tones and dynamics that go all over the place.
The second, “Stingo,” heavily features the flutes and percussion sections and goes from festive and joyous to brooding. “Daphne” is the slower and schmaltzier part in the piece. The fourth part, “Argeers,” is light, playful and features the flutes and oboes. Then the piece closes on a majestic piece with “The Slip.”
The MU Wind Ensemble took the stage next with Dr. John Zarco conducting. First they perform “Fanfare: 1 Chronicles, 13:8” by Jim Territo, which opens with the drums and slowly builds up while still remaining muted and mystical.
The next song was “The Seal Lullaby,” which featured Elina Sergeyev on piano. Zarco explains that the composer, Eric Whitacre, was asked by a movie studio if they could use this song for a major motion picture, only for them to change their minds at the last minute.
It was one of the most beautiful pieces of the concert with its slow, mystical sound and the piano adding a bittersweet undertone.
“The Solitary Dance” by Warren Benson is another piece that was based on a dance. It’s quiet, fast, somewhat discombobulated and features the clarinet players clapping a beat in the middle.
Last, the Wind Ensemble closes their part of the concert with the bouncy Ralph Vaughan Williams piece “Toccata.”
Last but not least was the Millersville Orchestra conducted by Dr. Vera Volchansky.
They open with Piotr Tchaikovsky’s 1840 piece “Capriccio Italien,” which begins with the simmering strings accompanied by the trumpets and winds.
It becomes more jovial and romantic in the middle, but becomes frantic and sinister towards the end, only to end on a grand and upbeat note.
The second piece, “Romance,” was written by Jean Sibelius in 1904 and despite the name, is actually pretty dark with the strings playing slow and sorrowful the whole time.
Then, the Orchestra closes the concert with “Overture 1812” also by Tchaikovsky, which features Russian folk music as well as a recognizable French anthem and Russian march.
It was a triumphant end to an enjoyable concert that provided a wide variety of different music of different time periods, styles, arrangements and composers.
Hopefully, dthe Music Department has more great concerts in store for the spring semester.