Last Sunday Oct 2 in Biemesderfer Concert Hall, the Millersville Wind Ensemble had the opportunity to play alongside The Ringgold Band at the October Winds event, setting the stage for a new semester of orchestra at Millersville University. The concert began at 2:30 p.m. and sold over 100 tickets.
Millersville’s ensemble performed nine songs independently from “Fantasies on a Theme” by Haydn to folk songs like “El Burro,” “All the Pretty Little Horses,” “Mrs. McGrath,” and “October.” Soloist Prof. Kristin Sims sang soprano over the orchestra.
The performance of “October” by Eric Whitaker earned a heavy applause.
“It’s so full sounding [and emotional],” Bridgette Horning said, a dual education and performance major. Horning played the Alto Saxophone during the show.
The Ringgold Band took the stage after intermission. Hailing from Berks County, the band originally formed in 1852 and its current members continue the group’s tradition of providing musical entertainment throughout southern Pennsylvania.
“It’s very cool playing in [the VPac] knowing that the Ringgold Band with all their history [was] coming on after us,” Connor Buckley said, a music education major and trumpeter.
The Ringgold Band is famous for their marches and covers of John Philip Sousa’s music. Colby Burke, a music education major, came out for the event to hear the band play these classic numbers.
“[It’s] very unique. You can distinguish [Sousa’s music] from other composers,” Burke said.
The band played “Mingling of The Wets and Drys,” “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” as well as another untitled march by the same composer. Ringgold’s director, James Seidel kept to the band’s tradition of closing the evening with “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” which they performed alongside the Wind’s Ensemble.
Assistant Director of the Ringgold Band, Tom Shade, 64, played the french horn. His favorite piece was “Ringgold Rhapsody” by Henry Gass, who wrote the song in 1967 specifically for The Ringgold Band. The song was inspired by local German folk melodies from Pennsylvania.
“It’s a very thoughtful piece,” Shade said.