The Symphonic Winds Band Tour will commence Wednesday, Feb. 26 and conclude Thursday, Feb. 27. There will be a pre-tour concert on the 25th, Tuesday night. Although only two days, two days is a lot when it comes to symphonic winds. The amount of work that goes into the transportation of instruments brings the performances closer to home and smaller in number.
The Symphonic Winds Band is composed of multiple instruments. MC’s Symphonic Winds Band has four flutes, one oboe, six clarinets, one bassoon, five saxophones, five trumpets, five horns, two trombones, one euphonium, and two tubas. MC has a balance of about one to two people per part. Typically, around 45 people total make up the band.
The band tends to perform in schools and a church. Generally, they will stay in the Mississippi area; although, occasionally they might make it out to Memphis, Tenn. Besides the occasional love offering, people view the band’s performances completely free of charge. The band’s intentions for conducting the tour is more for publicity and awareness and to give people the opportunity to hear good music.
This year will mark the 11th Symphonic Winds Band Tour in its history. Craig Young, director of Band Activities and head of the Instrumental Music Department at Mississippi College, has always been the Symphonic Winds Band Director.
For this particular tour, there is no particular theme or time period of focus. The pieces of music selected for the band to play are chosen more for their attractiveness; although, a lot of times there is an American music theme. In the spring, the Symphonic Winds Band intends to switch gears to perform a concert that incorporates more European themed pieces.
The American pieces chosen by Young serve to teach people something about music. He begins with Puritan tunes and moves into more modern ones. Young has planned to include some of the St. Louis Blues which were very important to American music and to bands overall.
W.C. Handy, a muscian who is widely regarded as the inventor of the blues, composed these. His inspiration for the blues originated during the time he spent living in Cleveland, MS.
As a whole, the music that MC’s Symphonic Winds Band intends to play during this tour traces American music from its infancy to contemporary times. Other music to be played will include pieces by Leonard Bernstein and William Schuman.
Recognizable for their orchestral compositions rather than their band pieces, the selections showcase a thorough appreciation for the talents of musicians whose full capabilities may not be fully explored by the casual listener.
Young stated that this tour will be “a chance to recognize a few of the pieces because we’re using hymn tunes such as ‘Nearer My God to Thee.’ There is a great variety of stuff. Every tune of it is going to have a different feel to it.” From somber to exciting to beautiful, a wide variety of feelings come out of the music.
“If two pieces sound too similar, I will take them out,” Young said.
Everybody is not going to like everything. Viewing a performance by MC’s Symphonic Winds Band is meant to be a little challenging with its technical focus and stimulating through different kinds of musical compositions.
It is an experience that is difficult to describe even for the band director Young. People will have to experience it for themselves in order to fully appreciate the art that it is.
– Bethany Kuhn, Reporter