The School of Music held a concert for the Southern Miss Concert Band as well as the South Jones wind ensemble of South Jones High School in the Mannoni Performing Arts Center auditorium on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
The concert started off with the Southern Miss concert band playing four pieces, then the South Jones wind ensemble taking the stage to play three pieces of their own and finally ended with both groups coming together to play one final collaborative piece.
One piece that the Southern Miss concert band played was “American Bigtop” by Brian Balmages, which was inspired by the motifs of several different American marches. Freshman music performance major who plays trombone for the concert band Nathan Tubbs said this piece is particularly enjoyable for him and the rest of the trombones.
“I like ‘American Bigtop’ the best out of all the pieces because it has many of the national songs that I hold dear to my heart,” Tubbs said. “It was also the most fun to play because there were a lot of runs that you normally don’t see as a trombone player because we usually just have half notes, but here we got to play actual melodies.”
Another piece that the Southern Miss concert band played was “Jitterbug” by Robert Buckley, a jazz tune that had some Duke Ellington-style syncopated melodies followed by a more smooth, mellow jazz ballad section. Unity Feldmeyer, a freshman music education major who plays tuba for the concert band, said that this piece presented an interesting challenge for her as a tuba player.
“I’ve been playing tuba in jazz ensembles for a couple of years now, and a lot of the challenges that come with playing tuba in jazz pieces comes from the fact that you have to sound like an instrument that you aren’t. You have to try and aim for a string bass or bass guitar sound,” Feldmeyer said. “You have to make sure that you get that nice staccato sound while also matching with the rest of the ensemble and your section and really just project the sound that your director wants you to.”
After both the Southern Miss concert band and the South Jones wind ensemble had finished performing all of their pieces, the two ensembles came together to perform the final piece of the concert.
Director of the Southern Miss concert band James Standland, Ph.D., gave a short speech before the combined ensemble performed their piece. He said that the two ensembles coming together was a tremendous accomplishment for both groups and that it was a testament to the power of music.
“Before 6:30 today, many of these people had never even met, and they’re about to perform onstage a piece that they’ve never played together except for one time today,” Standland said. “And that’s something that you can’t do in any other discipline. This truly is a matter of music being the universal language.”
The piece that the combined ensemble performed was “Novo Lenio” by Samuel R. Hazo which starts off as a grandiose, ballad-style song and then moves into a more driving, fast-paced tone.
Many of the members of the Southern Miss Concert Band said playing alongside the high school musicians was a fun experience.
Laina Treadaway, a freshman music education major who plays flute for the concert band, said that playing with the South Jones wind ensemble made her feel nostalgic for when she was in their shoes.
“Not only was this a fun piece to play, but it also reminded me why I’m doing music education,” Treadaway said. “Just playing with those kids really took me back to high school when I was first being inspired by music, and it was just a really fun experience.”