The Concordia St. Paul concert was on Tuesday, March twenty-first. I am in both Chamber Ensemble and Concert Band. I play the upright bass and the tuba. The concert started with the Chamber Ensemble. We played “Prelude II” by Gershwin and “Symphony No. 16” by Haydn. “Symphony No. 16” was a playful song that gave a happy feeling. This song was more advanced for me and was a challenge to play, but I had fun learning the song. The other song, “Prelude II,” was a sad, more mellow song that had a bluesy tone to it to create a more calm, jazzy feel. After the Chamber Ensemble finished, the concert band began to play. As the the tuba player, I got a different perspective of the music. I heard different instruments- mostly the trombones, trumpets, and French horns in relation to where I am seated in the band. We played a total of eight songs. The first song was called “Groove Music.” “Groove Music” was a simple song that had a clear melody. The melody was echoed throughout the whole band to keep simplicity and energy. The second song, “Gathering Places,” was dedicated to the first sit-in in North Carolina. This song included three spirituals that contain the theme of unity and desegregation of a community. The third song was called “Buffalo Dances” and was created out of respect for the Native American lifestyle and nature in the Dakota tribe. “Buffalo Dances” includes Native American sounds from the percussion section and buffalo noises from the trombone section. The trombones used plungers to create the buffalo noises. The fourth song, “Communion,” was played at chapel earlier that day and was a re-creation of the hymn “Be Thou My Vision.” Since the concert was so long and we played so many songs, Professor Isakson made sure there was an intermission for us to rest our lips. After the intermission, the band played “Into the Light,” another hymn-like song that gave a restful feel. According to many musicians in the band, this song allowed them to reflect on their faith and feel a sense of rest and ease in Christ’s grace and mercy. The sixth song was “With Each Sunset.” This song was dedicated to a soldier who died in Iraq. Just like “Into the Light,” it was intended to be a restful and transcendent. The main theme behind this song was that “‘With Each Sunset’ comes the promise of a new day”. This allows people to look at the positives and the grace God brings to people for the blessings of a new day. “White River Revival” was another song that was dedicated to the land of the Dakotas and the Native American history in the land. The last song was “American Flourish.” This was one of the best songs the band played, in my opinion. This song included “Yankee Doodle,” “Johnny Comes Marching Home,” “Shenandoah,” and the American Anthem. This final song wrapped up the entire concert, creating unity from the other songs like “Gathering Places” and “Buffalo Dances.” The songs chosen for this concert was a great way to unify the overarching theme through the many different cultures and backgrounds. Music reminds people that America is a country with many different backgrounds and religions, but we should all gather together to celebrate these differences as a community.
“Gathering Places” was the second song the Concert Band performed. This song is based on the sit-in that happened in North Carolina. Three hymns, “Brethren we have gathered to worship”, “Shall we go down to the River”, and “A Great Camp Meeting in the Promised Land” were integrated into the piece. These songs resembled the unification of people to fight against segregation, and to gather together as brothers and sisters in Christ, and to find commonality in life through these African Spirituals. The Honors class is learning about racism in society this semester. This song’s dedication to the first sit-in allows people to gather together and look past the racism in the system and look at each other as brothers and sisters in Christ trying to build one another up and support one another. Over spring break, the Concert Band went on tour to the Midwest. Professor Isakson put the history of the Native Americans in perspective, with the once roaming hills and plains filled with wild buffalo as a reminder of what the land went through and where the people of the area came from. Last semester, the Honors class learned about the ways of knowing. Professor Isakson learned truth and shared it with the band over tour. He learned the personal truth through another person’s observations of when a child reaches adolescence and how to cope with this realization. He also learned the name of Buffalo, Minnesota did not come from the once roaming buffalo in the area like the song would portray by the blaring trombones, but in actuality it came from a type of fish in the area.
Since I am in Concert Band I got a new perspective of all of the pieces. It was helpful that the band went on band tour because the class as a whole made great strides each time that we played a new concert. This was probably the best concert played this semester. The music choices were very appropriate for the places we visited. My favorite songs were “Buffalo Dances” and “White River Revival.” These songs are influenced by the South Dakota land and Native Americans history. As a tuba player, I was pleased to get a duet with the piccolo in “White River Revival”. All of the songs were fun to play, and it was interesting to hear each individual section grow to perform better. As the band performed more, we created a more balanced sound that was appealing. The trombone section in particular was exciting to hear, when they pretended to sound like buffalo. It was surprising to hear the trombones and feel the floor shake when they blared their instruments.