Many Ohio University students know and love the Marching 110, but if they’re not involved with the School of Music, they might not be aware of the rich musical experience the concert bands have to offer.
On Thursday, the Wind Symphony and the Symphonic Band will both be performing its first concert of the 2018-19 season, and each ensemble will present three pieces. The bands are under the direction of Andrew Trachsel and Richard Suk respectively.
One notable piece being played by one of OU’s more advanced ensembles, the Wind Symphony, is Julie Giroux’s “Riften Wed.” The song is inspired by and named after a city from the video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The piece is sweeping and romantic and tells a beautiful love story, regardless of the video game backdrop.
The Wind Symphony will also play James Stephenson’s Symphony No. 2 “Voices.” The piece has three movements and features a mezzo soprano soloist.
The vocalist has no lyrics, instead using vowels to express different musical ideas, which is intended to universalize the emotions and create music anyone can comprehend.
Alexandra Bruno, the soloist, is a graduate student studying music who also teaches undergraduate music classes.
“She’s an excellent mezzo soprano,” director of choral activities Bradley Naylor said.
The collaboration between the choral and instrumental departments is no accident. Trachsel, director of bands, explained his desire to incorporate other artistic pursuits alongside the instrumental programing.
“I look for a lot of different ways to collaborate with a lot of different types of people,” he said. In the past, the band has collaborated with vocalists, visual artists, dancers, and rock bands.
Many music students choose to be involved in multiple ensembles. Jake Evans, for example, is a senior studying music education who plays percussion in the Marching 110 and in the Wind Symphony, along with performing with the Singing Men of Ohio.
“Musical blending and persona are both very important,” Evans said.
He explained that each ensemble teaches him different skills. The Marching 110 values precision and dedication, while the Wind Symphony emphasizes musicality and blending.
“Also, music is fun,” he said.