Wind Ensemble, Clarinet Choir impress with joint concert

The Wind Ensemble and Clarinet Choir began their March 6 concert promptly at 8 p.m., greeting the audience with scales and tuning before jumping into their first piece. The Wind Ensemble began with Joseph Rauski’s “French Military March,” a forceful selection that utilized the percussion and brass sections to drive it forward.

Conductor and professor of music James Walker introduced the ensemble and described the pre-existing concordo of the pieces as the common thread of this concert. Later, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ bright and cheery “Folk Song Suite” combined the strength of the brass section with the gentleness of the woodwinds during the first movement.

Vaughan Williams’ second movement lengthens the piece, while the third movement emphasized the percussion section. The clarinet and flute sections excelled, with glorious runs and articulation throughout. William Schuman’s “Chester Overture for Band” contained phrases and melodies exchanged between the groups of instruments.

The brass section set a solid foundation while allowing the woodwinds to stand out. The trumpet section soared at the end of the piece, with the percussion adding dramatic fanfare.

The highlight of the night was the Clarinet Choir directed by adjunct faculty in music Ernest Lascell. The chosen pieces were melodious and emphasized the range and creativity of the clarinet. The selection began peacefully with Maurice Ravel’s “Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte.” Afterward, the Clarinet Choir gained momentum with Warner Hutchison’s “Suite for Clarinet Choir” before slowing it down with another lullaby.

Steven Langren’s arrangement of “Deir’In De (Traditional Irish Lullaby)” was notably tranquil and made the differences in the clarinets apparent. The Clarinet Choir ended on a high note with Gordon Jacob’s “Introduction and Rondo.” The Wind Ensemble returned with Haydn Wood’s Mannin Veen “Dear Isle of Man” before continuing to their final selection.

Chosen because of its delightful pun, Don Gillis’ “The January, February, March,” was an active piece highlighting the importance of the wood block. It kept the audience on their toes with its sudden changes in tempo and was a wonderful way to end the concert.u