Wind ensemble to perform spring concert tomorrow evening

by Kylee Sibilia | 5/5/17 12:00am

Saturday night’s Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble concert is the final installment in its three-part series celebrating the history of wind ensembles and the evolution of the wind band as an independent performance medium. The group will perform the music of contemporary composers, tracing the evolution of the wind band through works written in 1943 to those written in 2015.

This upcoming performance is called “Winds of Change: Contemporary Creators.” The ensemble’s fall performance investigated the first works written specifically for wind bands, focusing on music from the mid-19th century through 1950. The winter performance focused on the importance of chamber music to the evolution of the wind ensemble. This third performance draws all three concerts together in a final discovery of the significance of the wind ensemble in the larger world of music.

With works by William Schuman, Vincent Persichetti, Frank Ticheli, Karel Husa and David Maslanka, the concert will start out more traditionally classical but will progressively blend genres while exploring more recent material. Matthew Marsit, director of the wind ensemble, noted that much of the performance’s intrigue lies in its abrupt transformation.

“What’s sort of fun to observe or to listen to in the process of this concert is just how much change has happened in this relatively short period in history,” Marsit said.

The musical change that occurred during this time is part of what makes the music so unique.

“I think this is especially a concert where you’re going to hear something that you haven’t really heard before,” said Anna Matusewicz ’20, who plays bassoon in the ensemble. “It’s a different style of music.”

By the end of the concert, the music will be colorful, diverse and powerful. Marsit described this evolution as a sort of exercise in contradiction.

“Huge emotional swings,” Marsit said. “Huge swings from slow to fast, from soft to loud, from sort of dark to absolutely bright and brilliant.”

The music, however, is only part of what makes this performance so special. This concert marks the last time that the members of the Class of 2017 will play as part of the ensemble. In addition to a Facebook campaign that includes individual features and photos of each of the eight graduating seniors, Marsit said that the concert will take some time to honor the seniors in a special way.

Cynthia Tan ’17, the wind ensemble’s student manager and percussionist, acknowledged the sadness of the occasion but also the emotional significance of her experience playing for the group these past four years.

“It’s really sad, obviously,” Tan said. “I’ve been playing with the wind ensemble since my freshman year, so it’s kind of been the one constant I’ve had through Dartmouth, and it’s weird that it’s coming to an end. But also, I’ve gotten so close to this class of seniors, so I’m really glad I’m ending with them.”

Part of what makes the ensemble’s community so close is its diversity. The ensemble consists of 50 members selected both from Dartmouth’s student body and from the members of the Hanover community. The expectation for the musicians who are not Dartmouth students is that they play as well or better than the Dartmouth students, meaning that all of them are very skilled musicians, adding a dimension of experience to the ensemble.

“It’s an excellent community,” Matusewicz said. “I wasn’t expecting the community to be as tight-knit as it is. It’s a really great support system, and I really enjoy the music.”

Though the seniors are graduating, the newest members of the wind ensemble have brought a new dimension to a performance group that is constantly changing and growing.

“I’m really excited about this group of ’20s,” Tan said. “I think they bring a lot of really great energy and excitement to the ensemble.”

This last performance of the ensemble, with its focus on contemporary music, combines elements of both endings and beginnings, a sentiment that will be meaningful for its seniors. The wind ensemble will perform tomorrow in Spaulding Auditorium at 8 p.m.