Assoc. Arts & Culture Editor
There are many things that signify the season of springtime. It’s the precursor to summer, a time for warmer weather, and new beginnings. During the Millersville University Department of Music’s spring band concert “The Winds of Spring”, which was held at the Winter Visual Visual and Performing Arts Center (VPAC) on Sunday March 9, they brought music of springtime, jazz, church, and even baseball to life for their concert.
While the weather itself has only recently showed signs of spring nearing, the Millersville’s Concert Band and Wind Ensemble still managed to fill the Concert Hall with the sounds of spring. Led by conductor Dr. Keith Wiley, the Concert Band was the first to take the stage to deliver “Into the Joy of Spring” by James Swearington, which was divided into three parts. The first, “Winter’s Fury”, was forceful and hard-hitting; the second, “Spring’s Awakening”, was slow and peaceful, showing the coming of spring after a harsh winter; and the third, “A Celebration of Joy”, was a jovial dance. The next piece was “Flowers in the Forest” by Reber Clark, which Dr. Wiley described as a “Scottish lament of loved ones lost,” but states that it also has a sense of optimism to it because it is about “the continuation of life that is spring.”
Their last piece was “An Ellington Portrait” arranged by Floyd Werle, which was made up of the most well-known pieces from American composer, pianist and bandleader of jazz orchestras Duke Ellington, including “It Don’t Mean A Thing”, “Azure”, and “In a Sentimental Mood.” The piece ranged from being bright, swinging jazz to being slow, easy jazz.
Millersville’s Wind Ensemble, which was led by Dr. Mark Yingling, started their portion of the concert with “The Hounds of Spring” by Alfred Reed, which was inspired by the poem “Atalanta in Calydon” by Victorian era English poet Algernon Charles Swinburne. Their second piece “Cathedrals” was written by Kathryn Salfelder in 2008 when she was 20 years old. Dr. Yingling explained that it was inspired by a centuries-old piece that would be played in church, which she modernized for audiences of today.
Taking a more sporty turn, the Wind Ensemble then performed “Pastime: A Salute to Baseball,” a lively tribute to America’s favorite pastime that happens to start in spring. It was written by Jack Stamp, a fan of baseball who also serves as Director of Bands at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The song was a take on “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, and its melody could be heard throughout the piece. Finally, they finished the concert with “Symphony No. 3 – Finale” by Gustav Mahler and arranged by Jimmie Howard Reynolds.
Along with this concert, Millersville University’s Department of Music will be holding several other performances and concerts. There will several junior and senior recitals held in the VPAC throughout the month of April, as well as the Percussion Ensemble Showcase on April 13 and the Catalyst String Quartet on April 22. Some students will also be participating in the 9th Annual Single Reed Symposium all day on April 11.