Drexel University Concert Band’s Winter Showcase recap | The Triangle
Arts & Entertainment

Drexel University Concert Band’s Winter Showcase recap

Photo by Lucas Tunisian | The Triangle

Each quarter, on the Sunday evening before finals week, students in the Drexel University Concert Band pause their studying and dress in black to perform a full concert — one that they have prepared for in only ten weeks. On March 18, the Mandell Theater was filled with friends and family excited to hear this quarter’s program: “Perspectives — Wonder.”

The show opened at 7:00 p.m. with the band’s rendition of “O Magnum Mysterium,” a work set by Morten Lauridsen and arranged by H. Robert Reynolds. Assistant Conductor Dr. Harley Givler led the group through the piece, which also kicked off the concert’s livestream — something new that was being offered to allow supporters of the band to watch the show from anywhere.

The second piece the band played was Julie Giroux’s Symphony No. VI “The Blue Marble.” It consisted of three movements: “The Blue Marble,” “Voices in Green” and “Let There be Life.” During this piece, the concert band tried something they had never done before. Venturing bravely into the world of live mixed media, the ensemble performed against a video timed precisely to their performance. There were striking visuals combined with skillful musicianship to create a unique and captivating experience.

After a brief intermission, the band performed their second act — John Mackey’s “Wine Dark Sea,” inspired by Homer’s “Odyssey.” This piece comprised of three movements. The first, “Hubris,” featured complex rhythms and intense melodies. The second, “Immortal thread, so weak,” included more somber, even slightly haunting displays of isolated woodwinds. The third and final movement, “The attentions of souls,” closed the show with a ranging, dynamic performance that exemplified the band’s mastery of the challenging arrangement.

Patrick Bailey, the music director and conductor of the concert band was kind enough to speak briefly with The Triangle following the show. When asked about working with the band this quarter, he said, “It’s always amazing to see the growth from the beginning of the term through the performance. The level of music making just continues to go up and up every term.”

As you may know, Drexel is not a conservatory. There is no such thing as majoring in music performance or taking dozens of credits worth of classes to learn any one instrument. Each and every student in the concert band studies something else — often in a field far separated from music. But they maintain their passion. When asked about working with the students, Bailey said, “It’s really rewarding to see them grow and be successful. I’m always inspired by their hard work.”
This year’s concert band performance series began at the end of the fall quarter with their concert: “Perspectives — Open Skies,” and will conclude in the spring with their final concert of the academic year, “Perspectives — What We Hold Most Dear.” For more information on the Drexel University Concert Band, visit https://drexel.edu/performingarts/music/concert-band/.