Wind Ensemble spring concert features departing seniors

by Kaina Chen | 5/5/16 5:01pm

5.6.16-ARTS-wind-ensemble-by-Paula-Mendoza
Two seniors will be featured in tomorrow’s spring concert, “The Great Spirit.”
by Paula Mendoza / Paula Mendoza/The Dartmouth Staff

Every year, as spring term speeds towards an end, seniors in the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble graduate and hand off their roles to the remaining members. This spring, five seniors — Aadam Barclay ’16, Steven Povich ’16, Anne Reed-Weston ’16, Jacob Weiss ’16 and Simone Wien ’16 — will be giving their last performance, “The Great Spirit,” as student musicians under Wind Ensemble director Matthew Marsit.

The four featured works will echo notes of the natural elements, delivered to audience members with accents of fierce drama and peaceful calm. The first piece on the program, Yasuhide Ito’s “… yet the sun rises” (2011) is an audial story of a tsunami ravaging Japan’s coast and the quiet peace and tentative hope that follow such disaster. The piece will feature guest conductor Jacob Weiss ’16. The second piece, Joseph Turrin’s “Chronicles for Trumpet and Wind Symphony” (1998) will feature Steven Povich ’16 as trumpet soloist.

“[Chronicles] is in standard concerto form. It opens with a fast, exciting and showy first movement that announces the beginning of the piece, relaxes in a lyrical second movement and ends with a faster finale,” Povich said.

Rounding out the concert will be Kathryn Salfelder’s “Cathedrals” (2007) and Ferrer Ferran’s “Symphony No. 3 ‘The Great Spirit’” (2006). Ferran’s composition aims to capture magnificence of Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi’s nature-inspired cathedral, Sagrada Familia, a Roman Catholic church in Barcelona that took 118 years to construct, which recently opened in 2010.

The two seniors that will be taking the spotlight have had different yet instrumental roles in the wind ensemble.

Povich knew that he wanted to join a musical ensemble when first coming to Dartmouth. For him, a key characteristic of the wind ensemble was its tendency to perform more modern pieces.

When Povich’s looks back, many unique opportunities that he experienced as a member of the wind ensemble stand out to him. His sophomore spring break, the ensemble toured Costa Rica and worked with the national youth program.

On the subject of his featured solo, Povich said that he found the opportunity to work closely with Marsit particularly exciting and helpful for his musical development.

He noted that he has spent a considerable amount of time preparing for his upcoming solo, but has enjoyed the additional commitment.

On the other hand, Weiss wasn’t planning on joining the ensemble when first coming to Dartmouth.

“Matt stopped me in the hall one day during my freshman fall and suggested I try out,” Weiss said.

Weiss has participated in many other ensembles on campus, but wind ensemble was the one he chose to commit to throughout his four years at Dartmouth.

When asked why wind ensemble turned out to be the winning ticket, Weiss mentioned both the culture of the group and the quality of the pieces.

“Matt is really focused on making us play really excellent music,” he said.

Tomorrow’s concert is not Weiss’s first foray into conducting. In high school, Weiss served as drum major and conducted occasionally for his high school’s concert band. More recently, he completed his second year co-conducting for the Dartmouth Youth Wind Ensemble, a group of middle school musicians from the Upper Valley and surrounding regions directed by Marsit. However, he said that his newest experience has taught him a lot.

“The actual process [as guest conductor] has been a huge learning experience,” Weiss said. “I have never conducted anything as complicated as this.”

Weiss’s main focus was learning how to lead the ensemble through “…yet the sun rises,” a complex piece of music.

“I’m focused on the big, large-scale things as opposed to individual parts,” Weiss said.

Weiss and Povich were students that stood out to Marsit as having shown incredible dedication to the ensemble. Marsit worked closely with Weiss and Povich both during rehearsals and individually to prepare them for their respective roles.

Mallory Rutigliano ’17, a flutist in the ensemble, commented on the uniqueness of the opportunity for students to conduct.

“I have known Steven and Jacob my entire career in the wind ensemble,” Rutigliano said. “I think it’s fantastic that they can showcase their talents on the stage.”

Marsit, like Weiss, noted that a unique aspect of Dartmouth’s wind ensemble is how it differs from ensembles at music conservatories, where the instrumentalists will most likely have a professional career in music.

“These are students for whom music is not going to be a career ­but by no means does this matter. They want to perform and achieve just as though it is their career field,” Marsit said.

Weiss appreciates that the wind ensemble is something that students choose to participate in because they want to, not because it is required.

“We might not be as technically perfect, but on the flip side, we enjoy it,” Weiss said.

After graduation, Povich will head to Boston to work in finance. He noted that he would like to continue music as a hobby. Weiss will follow a professional path in computer science and hopes to conduct and play in a small ensemble in the future.

The concert will be performed in Spaulding Auditorium tomorrow at 8 p.m.