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JU Wind Ensemble

Lauren Tidwell

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Photo by Grace Singer

Sunday, April 10th, JU’s Wind Ensemble blew away the audience with their spectacular performance.  The concert in its entirety was a success, but the “Solo Material” featuring junior music majors Rachel Harding, soprano, and Terrance Peters, alto saxophone, took the show.

The program provided describes a wind ensemble as an instrumental group of woodwind, brass and percussion instruments that perform works from various repertoires, and variety is exactly what the ensemble delivered.

Coming in with ease, the first piece titled “O Mensch, Bewein’ Dein’ Sünde Gross” was slow and soft.  It was followed up by an upbeat and wistful Shelley Hanson piece titled “Volver a la Montaña” from Islas y Montañas. This piece is rooted in South American folk tunes, and it captured the energy of the region.

Terrance Peters stood center stage for his solo role in “Fantasia for Alto Saxaphone and Wind Ensemble.”  He captured the high drama and complex transitions of this piece with beautiful smoothness, and Conductor Artie Clifton made sure to give him all the praise and respect he has earned through the mastery of his craft.

Once his piece was over, Peters received a standing ovation from the crowd.  His post-graduation goal of entering the United States Air Force Band is a certainly attainable ambition with the natural talent and obvious diligence he applies to his instrument.

The first half of the concert was wrapped up with Ralph Vaughan Williams “Toccata Marziale,” another folksong-like melody that served as a good come down from the intensity of the Fantasia piece.  There was a prominent presence of bells in this piece.

The second half of the performance began with a three movement Mark Camphouse composition titled “Three London Miniatures.”  The ensemble performed beautifully the Anglican hymn, the expressive and lyrical tribute to late Princess Diana, and the spirited, petite march in English style.

The most memorable part of the latter half of the show, however, was the breathtaking soprano vocals of Rachel Harding.  She sang a variety of pieces from all different regional origins: “Mrs. Megrath,” Irish; “All the Pretty Little Horses,” American; “Yerakina,” Greek; “El Burro,” Spanish; and “The Fiddler,” Yiddish.

Harding’s amazingly well polished vocals were impressive to say the least, and her performance showed an immense potential for professional success.  Her musical selections were expressive pieces carrying with them strong emotion.

The ensemble wrapped up the event with “Three Dances from Henry VIII,by Edward German.  It was a terrific end to the matinee, lightly and gracefully leaving the audience on a high point.

“I liked the variety, and the soloists were excellent,” JU student Karen O’Connell said. “The saxophone piece was excellent, Fantasia.  I enjoyed also the piece before it, the South American piece.”

Many other attendees shadowed her feelings. The concert was truly a performance the audience won’t soon forget.  Our JU music students never cease to impress, and students from all disciplines will have missed a wonderful display of JU’s talented musicians if they part ways with the university without taking in one of these amazing performances.

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JU Wind Ensemble