Wind Ensemble, RIT collaboration a gem

On Friday, Feb. 22, Wadsworth Auditorium was filled with the lovely symphonic music of Geneseo's Wind Ensemble, playing alongside RIT's Concert Band in what proved to be an exciting joint concert.

The Wind Ensemble, conducted by professor James Walker, sounded off with "American Overture for Band" written by Joseph Jenkins. This, like the other pieces, sounded quite militaristic with a rather melodic flair. It was in the second piece, "First Suite in E-flat for Military Band" by Gustav Holst, that the audience saw the ensemble having the most fun.

Junior Krystle Fryzel impressed with her standout flute solo in the first movement. During the second and third movements, it was plain to see the Wind Ensemble was barely able to contain themselves from dancing in their seats. Feet tapped and heads bopped; it became contagious, as many other people in the audience began moving with the music as well.

As the musicians' countenance turned from upbeat, Walker introduced the next piece by saying, "Either people love Virgil Thomson's music, or they really don't like it at all."

Walker was not kidding. Although "A Solemn Music" was heartrending at times, it seemed as if it could just as easily be found in the score of a cheesy horror film.

Overall, the pieces played by the RIT Concert Band were more entertaining and engaging to listen to, but the talents of both bands never ceased to impress.

The concert finished with both bands together on stage playing "Polka and Fugue" from the opera Schwanda and the Bagpiper by Jaromir Weinberger. This was the grand finale, indeed. The Irish flair was pleasing to the ears and the sheer power of both bands combined was enough to shake the whole structure of Wadsworth Auditorium.

The Geneseo Wind Ensemble will play again on April 25 at 8 p.m. in Wadsworth Auditorium with the Geneseo Jazz Ensemble.