Symphonic Band

Nicole Rosen, News Staff

On Feb. 14, Stetson’s Symphonic Band put on a beautiful concert, an abundance of performers that completely covered the stage, and the music loud but enchanting. There were four pieces on the night’s program: “Carnival Overture” (1891) by Antonín Dvořak, “Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme” (2010) by Michael Gandolfi, “Second Essay” (1942) by Samuel Barber, and “Hosannas” (2015) by David Maslanka. “Carnival” and “Second Essay” were both transcribed from a full orchestra score for the band. 

When describing Antonín Dvořak’s composition, conductor Douglas Phillips, Ph.D. said, “It’s not just music — it’s gorgeously beautiful music.” 

“Carnival Overture” is a well known and beloved piece that has a “celebratory nature and lively syncopation” (Program Notes). 

“Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme” is an exciting Spanish-influenced piece. It is “a set of seven variations on an anonymous Renaissance melody that is simply titled Spagnoletta. It is derived from a popular melody titled Españoleta or ‘little Spanish tune.’” (Program Notes). While the original is simple and elegant, “Flourishes and Meditations” gives it a new “dream-like environment” that is all the more enchanting. 

“Second Essay” is a beautiful and lively piece. In the Program Notes it is described as having a “richness of texture and tightness of structure.” The different sections of this piece are crafted in a rhythmic way, and it has a strong climax. 

The final piece of the night was “Hosannas” by David Maslanka. Dr. Phillips knew the man that this piece was commissioned for, so it is close to his heart. He said that it is “Not just about the piece, it’s about the connections that we have.” The word “Hosanna” means a “shout of praise” and this seems appropriate since it was commissioned for conductor Gary Green’s retirement. Maslanka passed in 2017, and Dr. Phillips said that we can “Experience him and his life through the music that he’s left us.” This fourth piece has seven different parts, and the first and last are very reflective. The last part also brought in a singer, Andrew Larson, Ph.D. Dean of Music. 

After this incredible concert, I was able to interview two of the performers. Hannah Faircloth (‘20) the principal clarinetist, and Freddie Powell (‘20) the principal flutist. They are both music performance majors. They both had a hard time choosing a favorite piece, but Powell said he had a special connection to the last piece (“Hosannas”) and Faircloth agreed. When asked about playing in the concert, Faircloth replied, “It’s so different from rehearsals because in that space with all those people there on that stage knowing you’re playing it for the final time with these people in this moment of time, its so special. It elevates it and you don’t ever get that feeling again.” Powell continued from what Faircloth said, “It’s a completely different kind of energy from any other time that we’ve played those pieces.” 

I asked them what it is like being up on the stage and Faircloth said, “It’s great. The crowd fades away but you’re still connected to them, because we feed off the crowd and they feed off us. Even though no one is really saying anything to each other.” 

“The best part of it all is being able to make music not only with our peers on stage but also knowing that we’re connecting the emotion of the music with the audience members and through whatever experience they have had hearing the music,” said Powell. 

Overall, the performance was fantastic. I highly recommend trying to attend the next band performances. Keep an eye out for them! 


Upcoming Band Productions:

February 2020

  • 25, Tuesday – University Concert Band, 7:30 pm Lee Chapel
  • 26, Wednesday – Jazz Ensemble, 7:30 pm Athens Theatre

March 2020

  • 24, Tuesday – University Symphonic Band Chamber Winds, 7:30 pm Lee Chapel

April 2020

  • 18, Saturday – University Concert Band, 7:30 pm Lee Chapel
  • 22, Wednesday – Jazz Ensemble, 7:30 pm Athens Theatre
  • 25, Saturday – University Symphonic Band, 7:30 pm Lee Chapel