Wind Symphony, Concert Band honors veterans

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Liz Dowell

Musicians in the woodwinds section play during “A Call to Duty: A Veterans’s Day Tribute” on Thursday in the Dvorak Concert Hall of the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

Cassie Buchman, Staff Reporter

Eastern’s Concert Band and Wind Symphony played a mix of patriotic and historic songs under the direction of band director Alice Neal at their Thursday evening concert “Call to Duty: Veterans Day Tribute.”

The Doudna crew decorated the Dvorak Concert Hall stage to reflect the patriotic music; the American flag projected on stage, with red lights surrounding the theater and stars projecting on the ceiling.

The evening began with audience members standing and singing along to the national anthem, the “Star Spangled Banner,” played by the Concert Band.

The powerful sounds of many instruments coming together filled the theater as they continued with songs like “America the Beautiful” and “Grand Old Flag.”

The energetic song “Let Freedom Ring!” fit the rest of the show, as Neal said she intended it to be a “festive celebration” of Veterans Day.

Guest conductors and graduate students Michael Pond-Jones and Bryan Chesi directed the next several songs, including “Pacem.”

“The song is called ‘Pacem’ because (the composer) was influenced by the composers of the Renaissance,” Pond-Jones said.

Pond-James said the song was meant to be peaceful.

“This song allows us all an opportunity to reflect on the world of peace we live in because of our veterans.” Pond-Jones said.

For “Armed Forces Salute,” Chesi invited members of the armed forces to stand when the song from their particular branch of the army was played.

The audience clapped as people from the Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Air Force, and Navy stood in succession.

Although the Wind Symphony had fewer performers, their songs still held power, beginning with a strong percussion section in the song “American Fanfare.”

Chesi directed the song, “Commando March,” which was composed by Samuel Barber for the Army Air Corps Band in 1943.

Neal then invited the veterans in the audience and their family members to stand and be recognized for their service, after which the audience clapped and cheered with respect.

President Bill Perry then came onstage to narrate the next song, “A Lincoln Portrait.” Written in 1942, the song uses music, quotes and facts about the president to commemorate his life.

Perry read quotes from Lincoln such as, “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.”

He also recited, “Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.”

The Wind Symphony ended the concert with their rendition of John Phillip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

This last song was followed by a standing ovation from the enthusiastic audience.

 

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]