Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Symphonic Band performs at Giltz in ensemble

By Suzanne Tracy

The SUNY Plattsburgh Symphonic Band assembled in Giltz Auditorium in Hawkins Hall to a crowd of friends and family on a warm Friday evening April 28. 

The band members, elegantly dressed in black, gathered onstage with the theme of “How Suite It Is.” There were multi-movement pieces showcasing a broad range of the 40-member ensemble’s talent. 

The room was electrified from audience members of all ages.

The band began with “Second Suite in F” by Gustav Holst. This suite consisted of four different musical movements made to be presented as a unit. Each movement showcased the ensembles ability to work well together through the power of music. 

The percussion section performed brilliantly as the star of most movements. An ear-catching sound from an anvil was at the forefront of the “Song of the Blacksmith,” as the first piece in the suite.The band’s second piece was “Japanese Folk Song Suite” by Bin Kaneda. 

It began with booming sounds from the brass section. Soon, the next movement turned into a slow melody, led by piccolo and flute player Trevor White and oboe player Mckenna Brazie. By the third movement, “An Ancient Priest in a Mountain Temple,” the band blended back together in an upbeat melody that the brass section took charge of yet again. The trombones and trumpets carried the movement in an upbeat, fast tempo that played with dynamics. A final gong signified a performance well done.

“The march at the beginning of the concert was an incredible way to set the theme for the show and awaken the audience,” audience member Brian Muller said.

Muller’s friends in attendance agreed that this piece started the show with a proper introduction to how this band performed. 

After intermission, the Plattsburgh Community Clarinet Choir took the stage with “Suite for Four Equal Clarinets” directed by Margali Grenier. The sweet sounds lulled the audience to near silence as the six onstage serenaded those in attendance.

The large ensemble then returned to play “Suite of Finnish Images” by Janne Ikonen. The second movement, “Whisper of the Ancient Forest,” had a brief but memorable percussion solo. 

The drum players, especially the timpanist, were an outstanding feature. 

They added fascinating accompaniments to soloist Trevor White, now on piccolo. This piece also played heavily with dynamics yet again, with the saxophone section taking charge.

“Suite of Old American Dances” by Robert Russel Bennett ended the evening. During the beginning of this movement, “Cakewalk,” the French horn’s tune melded with the sounds of woodwind and brass alike. 

Later on, the clarinets took charge with their high notes sounding clean and beautifully put together. Other movements showed perfect mixtures of instruments working together, creating loud and beautiful sounds. 

Overall, the band mixed together in a professional sounding way. Ensemble members showed a passion for music and played like they had trained their entire lives. 

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