This spring, Swarthmore’s Wind Ensemble will present audiences with a carefully selected blend of music that aims to captivate and inspire. The concert will be held on Saturday, April 15th at 8 pm in the Lang Concert Hall, and concertgoers will be treated to a variety of pieces including staples of wind ensemble repertoire and works by lesser known composers.
Director Andrew Hauze notes that he tries to “get a lot of variety in the program” and “work on all kinds of musical techniques [with the ensemble].” The ensemble will perform four pieces, beginning with Julie Giroux’s The Lion and the Mouse (from A Symphony of Fables). As Hauze remarks, “Giroux loves to tell a story through her music” with The Lion and the Mouse being no exception. Published in 2006, Giroux’s work uses music to tell Aesop’s classic fable of the power of kindness between individuals of seemingly different status.
Continuing the theme of music as a form of storytelling, Dwayne Milburn’s American Hymnsong Suite is a contemporary classic heavily influenced by Milburn’s upbringing in a family of church musicians. The American Hymnsong Suite is inspired by an organ concert of hymns which Milburn adapted to serve as the inner movements of his suite. He brackets these movements with his own arrangements of his favorite hymns.
The next work the ensemble will showcase are three songs from Leonard Bernstein’s Songfest. Bernstein’s name might be familiar as the composer of the musical West Side Story.. These songs are based on three different poems with each piece translating the prose into music for the audience. This piece holds a special place in Hauze’s heart as Bernstein’s music in particular has been a big influence on him as a conductor.
The concert will conclude with Gustav Holst’s First Suite in Eb, a pioneering composition in the history of the wind ensemble music. Hauze describes it as one of the first “serious pieces written for the wind ensemble” and it being “filled with great tunes constructed in an interesting way.”
Reflecting on his own experience conducting the ensemble Hauze notes that, “until I started conducting [in 2011], I didn’t know a lot of the music. [It is] such a special blend of sounds, its own world.” Hauze hopes that hearing these pieces will make the audience “energized and want to seek out other music by these composers.” He wishes to recognize the work and love put in by members of the ensemble, “I always love working with the students … [They have] fantastic attitudes.” It is a sentiment shared by Jude Hemmins ‘26 of the wind ensemble who notes that he has been “enjoying the practices” as an “escape from normal school work.” He specifically points out A Julia de Burgos by Bernstein as a piece he has enjoyed learning with the ensemble. “It’s a really difficult piece and I loved seeing [the ensemble] improve on it over time.”
The wind ensemble concert will be held on Saturday, April 15th at 8 pm in the Lang Concert Hall. The ensemble hopes to see you there!