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The Swarthmore College Wind Ensemble's Spring 2024 Performance Featuring Seraph Brass

Seraph brass

On Friday, April 12, 2024 at 8 p.m., the Swarthmore College Wind Ensemble will perform at Lang Concert Hall, with guest artists Seraph Brass. Founded by trumpet soloist Mary Elizabeth Bowden, the quintet will also be offering a masterclass at the Lang Music Concert Hall on April 11 at 3:30 p.m. 

“The brass world is very male heavy and has been for a long time. I don’t know all of Mary’s [Bowden] reasons for founding this group but I think one was to highlight the amazing brass players who are women out there in the world . . . they’re really amazing,” Hauze explained, stating that Seraph Brass coming was the “cornerstone of this semester’s program.” 

Seraph Brass will perform a piece entitled "Dust" alongside the Wind Ensemble. Jennifer Jolley — composer, conductor, and Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition at Lehman College — wrote "Dust" specifically for a Wind Ensemble with a brass quintet solo. 

"We’ve never done anything like this in my time here conducting the wind ensemble, having a solo feature group perform along with us. I thought that seemed like a really exciting opportunity,” said Hauze.

The concert will also feature original pieces of music by two seniors: Kai Williams ‘24, Music Honors Minor, and Dessa Caguioa ‘24, Music Major. 

Caguioa arranged a piece for last semester’s concert but this is her first original composition for wind ensemble, titled “Homeward.” Influenced by her home state of Hawai’i, her focus is the idea of community, which she has expressed through layering variations of the main theme played by different instruments. 

“Music ensembles, in a sense, exemplify community because every individual in the ensemble is attuned to what other members of the ensemble are doing, and they must blend with each other to make a cohesive sound. In a similar vein, part of my inspiration for this piece was from seeing my own community come together in the wake of the Lahaina wildfires back in August,” Caguioa described. She has been in the ensemble for five semesters, beginning fall 2020 and plays the bass clarinet. 

The repertoire also features pieces suggested by the ensemble. “There’s usually dozens and dozens of suggestions of things we could do. I try to see which ones might fit well with the current group that we have and with the rest of the program,” Hauze said. 

The first of these is a foundational piece for wind ensembles by Alfred Reed, “The Hounds of Spring.” Hauze describes it as a “classic that is very joyous and beautiful.” With frequent requests to do film music, Hauze has also chosen music from The Incredibles  that fits well with the big trumpet section the ensemble has this spring. 

The last piece Hauze added was in honor of Peter Schickele ’57, Swarthmore’s first graduate to major in music. The composer passed away this January and was known for his alter ego, P.D.Q. Bach, a satirical figure meant to be J.S. Bach’s long lost son. 

“He was most famous as a kind of musical humorist . . . What’s great is that Peter Shickele ingeniously created these pieces that seem like they’re making sense but then something really ridiculous happens and so it’s just filled with jokes. I picked one which includes the group singing quite a bit and making all kinds of unexpected noises,” said Hauze.

Yuta Sato ‘26 has been involved with the ensemble since arriving at Swarthmore and says that Hauze has been one of his favorite professors since freshman year, making wind ensemble a place where he can “wind down and have fun for the night.” 

Sato is looking forward to this semester’s concert and has much to say about the repertoire and Seraph Brass. “The pieces we are playing are at a perfect degree of difficulty for me and I have particularly enjoyed ‘The Hounds of Spring’ by Alfred Reed because of how great the trumpet part is. I am absolutely thrilled to play with Seraph Brass, especially as a brass player, and I am looking forward to being enamored and inspired by their sound,” he said. 

Despite his years of experience conducting the wind ensemble, Hauze finds that every semester is unique. “The students bring a new energy so that the group is always evolving . . . I can never predict from year to year exactly what instruments we will have . . .Right now we have a very nicely balanced group because we have almost every instrument covered and that’s been really great,” Hauze said. 

Seraph Brass will be hosting their masterclass on April 11 at 3:30 p.m. This will be followed by the Wind Ensemble concert featuring Seraph Brass at the Lang Music Concert Hall on Friday, April 12 at 8:30 p.m. Additionally, Seraph Brass will have a pop-up event that morning at the Dining and Community Commons at 12:30 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.