Wind Ensemble and Concert Band sign off for the season

With their last performance quickly approaching, Sonoma State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Concert Band are closing out their season in Weill Hall on May 10.

The Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Concert Band join forces to create a beautiful show, showcasing music for the instruments percussion, brass and woodwinds. 

Sonoma State junior Cameron Shellnut is a Music Education major and plays the tuba in the Wind Ensemble. He has been performing for 11 years, and will be gracing the stage for this exciting concert.

“I am most excited to play the song ‘Paris Sketches’ by Martin Ellerby because I get to perform a tricky mute technique with my colleague Jacob Rosales,” said Shellnut. “I think people should come see this show because it feels nice to have an audience. To have that audience-performer relationship during a performance is really spiritual and it’s something I don’t think a lot of people experience enough.”

The Symphonic Wind Ensemble is one of the several performing groups that you can join at Sonoma State. To join though you have to go through an audition process at the beginning of the semester and be picked. This ensemble is filled with many talented brass, wind and percussion majors but you can be any major to audition. The group performs all over California and showcases their love of music

The Concert Band is another performance group at Sonoma State. With no audition needed, the Concert Band provides music lovers with any level of ability to grow their passion even further. They usually perform one to two shows throughout the semester in Weill Hall. 

Both of these music groups are directed by Dr. Andy Collinsworth, who has been a professor at Sonoma State since 2008. One of his biggest draws for coming to Sonoma State was the beautiful Green Music Center being built and to continue the growth of the band program that his colleague Dr. Brian Wilson started in 2000.

“We are so very fortunate to have world class facilities like Weill and Schroeder Halls, and they have been an integral part of our university Music department,” said Collinsworth. “Because of the Green Music Center, we’ve been able to attract world class artists as well as host a number of large school music festivals, both of which are important to our recruiting efforts.”

With directing both bands and preparing a show with 90-100 student performers, Collinsworth finds that praciting plays an integral part in the success of the show.

“Our concert performance is essentially an extension of what we do in our Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Concert Band classes on a regular basis. Students study, practice and rehearse the repertoire we perform, and the performance is basically a public demonstration of our collective efforts,” said Collinsworth. 

The Concert Band will be showcasing the work of two senior Music Education majors. Ryan Perry will conduct Eric Whitacre’s gorgeous ballad “The Seal Lullaby”, and a Mark Lortz upbeat Latin piece “Fuego Español” will be conducted by Jacob Rosales. A few other songs featured in the show have very powerful messages being portrayed through the music. 

“The Concert Band set also includes a performance of “An American Elegy”, a deeply moving work composed by USC professor Frank Ticheli as a tribute to the Columbine High School community following the horrific school shooting that occurred 20 years ago,” said Collinsworth. 

Another aspect of the show is a performance by the Wind Ensemble where they perform a Boysen composition “Song for My Children” in a style taken from the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, a professional ensemble from New York that performs with no conductor. Collinsworth pitched the idea to a small group of his students and they ran with it, taking it into their own hands.

They came up with their own rehearsal ground rules, such as anyone in the band can stop the rehearsal midstream by standing up, and everyone is empowered to make suggestions. 

“Everyone in the band has a full score to the piece which they use as a reference when making suggestions and decisions” said Collinsworth. “While much of this is communicated verbally in between, they have learned how to communicate these aspects nonverbally through gesture and eye contact with one another.”

The performance begins on Friday, May 10 in Weill Hall at 7:30 p.m., expecting to end around 9:30 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at tickets.sonoma.edu. Admission for students is free and $8 for the general public.