Rowan Concert Band played an American-themed concert in Pfleeger Hall this past Thursday, followed by a performance by the Atlantic Brass Band.
Joseph Higgins, the director of bands, chose the theme based on one song he really wanted to play with the Rowan Concert Band: “Elegy for a Young American,” which is a slow, mournful tribute to John F. Kennedy after he was assassinated. From there, he built the rest of the concert.
“We needed to be reminded of a time when presidents were more universally revered,” Higgins said. “That’s not why I programmed it, but lately, with what’s going on in the election, it’s been nice to think about happy American stuff.”
The other songs played in the concert included “Florentiner March” by Julius Fucik, “Rollo Takes a Walk” by David Maslanka, “Old Churches” by Michael Colgrass and “Country Dance” from “Cajun Folksongs II” by Frank Ticheli.
Rowan Concert Band welcomes music majors as well as non-music majors. This semester, the band is much larger than it has been in the past, reaching upwards of 80 student participants. The enormous size of the band has brought some challenges though.
“The group is bigger than it’s been in the past, so figuring out how to balance and find our sound with over 80 people has been a challenge,” Higgins said. “That’s been the biggest difference, but now we’ve figured it out so it will be a different challenge the next concert.”
The large group creates a welcoming environment for various types of musicians to play, according to freshman music education instrumental major Michael Massaro.
“I like being able to show up every day in a relaxed environment and play music with all the friends I’ve just made at college,” Massaro said. “It’s a lot of fun being able to get to know them through music.”
Higgins also enjoys being with his students rehearsing for their upcoming performances.
“It’s at the end of my day and it’s very fun. It’s a very positive group. They’re very happy to play,” Higgins said. “They remind me why I like music after a long day of doing the other stuff.”
After the Rowan Concert Band finished their set, the Atlantic Brass Band, a professional ensemble featuring a few students and faculty members, took the stage to play after intermission.
They played various songs, including a British march and “Metropolis 1927,” an original by one of their band members. “Metropolis 1927” ended the concert and caught the attention of junior music education major Shannon Bradley.
“It was long, but it was like watching a movie without the movie in front of you,” Bradley said.
According to Higgins, this concert marked the first time Rowan Concert Band partnered with Atlantic Brass Band to put on a concert together. Andrew Gavin, a senior music composition major, particularly liked this addition, saying it resembles seeing where students are now and where they could potentially end up one day.
“Typically, the concerts here are just the student ensemble, so it’s nice to have a showcase of the students and see where they’re going to end up as they grow older,” Gavin said.
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