University and Symphony Band concert brings together two music courses

The University Band performs 'Declaration Overture' at the University Band and Symphony Band Concert, Dec. 6 at the Staples Family Music Hall. Josh Barnhart | Staff Photographer

The sound of a single oboe silenced the crowd. Slowly, the rest of the band began to join the oboe as one of the three conductors approached the pedestal.

The University Band began with a vibrant piece titled “Declaration Overture,” composed by Claude T. Smith.

The fall University Band and Symphony Band Concert took place on Tuesday in the Staples Family Concert Hall in the School of Music Building. This is one of three concerts that these two bands perform every year.

“The best thing about University Band is it’s a time to relax. You don’t have to stress about every note being right or everything being perfect,” said Andrea Forester, a Royal Oak freshman and University Band member. “It’s more about having fun and just playing an instrument.”

Both bands are through CMU courses. University Band is open to any student of any level of musical experience. Symphony Band requires an audition and is competitive. There are 55 students in the University Band and 46 students in the symphony band.

Both bands practice once a week for an hour and a half each week leading up to this concert.

“Symphony Band can be hard because it can be hard to work well and sound good in an ensemble setting, but tonight there were a lot of moments where everything just came together and flowed really well,” said Christian Clark, a Midland freshman and Symphony Band member. “I got to create good music with other musicians which is why I’m here.”

Before starting the final song in the University Bands’ performance, Ryan Ramsey, a graduate student and a conductor of the performance, recognized four students who were performing with the University Band for the last time before graduating.

“I loved conducting these bands because one band wasn’t all music major,” said Amanda Fornshell, graduate assistant and conductor of both bands. “There were nurses, journalists and artists that came to (University Band) and played just because they had the opportunity. It was great to be able to give them that opportunity and push them to that next level of music that we can do.”

After a short intermission, the house lights went down again and the audience’s attention was brought back to the stage by an oboe player’s single tuning note. The Symphony Band began their performance with “Lauds,” composed by Ron Nelson. The brass section came in loudly to kick off the second half of the show.

The show ended with a three-part piece called “Third Suite,” composed by Robert E. Jager that allowed each section and instrument to shine. The Symphony Band finished their piece with one final crescendo and the audience burst out in applause as the entire band stood and all three conductors. “Symphony Band was a great challenge. These were music majors who wanted to be pushed and have expectations.” FornshelI said. “I get to conduct them to that next level which teaches me to be a better conductor as well as teaching them how to respond to conductors.”