Wind Symphony performs at PAC

Ashley Dalton

The Georgia Southern Wind Symphony will be performing for the second time this semester, but this time it is with the Statesboro High School Band.

“The role of our University, among many others, is to reach out to the community. To share the stage with a local high school is not only an opportunity for the high school, but also for the University students,” Associate Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands Colin McKenzie, Ph.D., said.

Tonight’s concert will have a guest appearance by the SHS Band, which will perform three pieces to open for GSU’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble. The band director of the SHS band is a GSU alum, Lee Collins.

This is a special way for GSU to interact with the community and bring the arts to young students.

“Chorale and Toccata” by Robert Jager, will be conducted by a graduate conductor, Michael Thomas, while Laura Stambaugh, Ph.D., will be guest-conducting the piece “Ballad for Band,” by Morton Gould.

“She is fantastic and a great conductor. I am very happy to have her on board with us,” McKenzie said.

Both pieces are Arab and from the early 20th century, when the Wind Symphony was first becoming a concert group.

The second half of the performance contains very traditional Italian pieces, “Symphonic Concert March” by G. Bonelli and “Overture: La Forza del Destino” by Giuseppe Verdi. Both are difficult and grand pieces that require a skilled ensemble. Pieces are chosen for various reasons depending on certain events or desires.

“There are many different ways to approach it,” McKenzie said.

“We are fortunate to have such skilled students, so we are able to do most of the pieces that we want to do,” McKenzie said.

The Wind Symphony began under Dan Pitman, Ph.D., and has progressed into a program with approximately 50 undergraduate Georgia Southern students. It is one of the two concert bands that meet at GSU. The members of the Wind Ensemble play a collection of wind and percussion instruments with quartets and quintets.

“It’s something that I wish more people understood about our program,” McKenzie said. “These students are some of the most hardworking people and they would love nothing more to perform in a full house.”