The Gustavian Weekly

Le Grande Band & Chorus to debut with Handel’s “Water Music” | The Gustavian Weekly

By Mackenzie McCann Staff Writer | September 27, 2013 | Variety

The debut solo performance of Le Grande Bande & Chorus (LGBC), “Handel’s Water Music,” is scheduled for Sunday, Oct.  6 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. in Björling Recital Hall. The local nonprofit orchestra and chorus were established in June 2011 by Gustavus alumnus Michael Asmus ‘13.  The 28 musicians in LGBC are mostly students from Gustavus. The orchestra also features members of the Mankato Symphony Orchestra and other local musicians as well.

The Music and Artistic Director, Michael Asmus was and continues to be actively involved in the Music Departmant. He currently works as Worship Curator and a professional accompanist here on campus. He will also be the Musical Director for the Department of Theatre & Dance’s spring musical, Hair. This performance of LGBC is just one of the many undertakings Asmus hopes will constitute a productive gap year while he applies for graduate school.

Asmus started the LGBC in the summer of 2011. He spent $700 out-of-pocket to establish the group as a legitimate non-profit organization. He now does everything from picking the music, to designing the programs, to managing funds to conducting the orchestra itself. LGBC’s first performance was last April at Asmus’s senior recital, but this will be the group’s first “solo” performance.

Asmus envisioned the organization as a way for students to play more challenging orchestral pieces that wouldn’t normally be taught during their time at Gustavus.

“A lot of undergraduate students don’t have the opportunity to perform music like this,” Asmus said, “I wanted to give them the opportunity to do that.”

The group will be performing three classical pieces. The first, “Sinfonia,” is a five-minute opera overture from Armida by Franz Joseph Haydn. The second piece, “Symphony No. 87”, also by Haydn, will be followed by a fifteen-minute intermission. The final piece is George Frideric Handel’s Water Music, a collection of 22 orchestral movements.

Water Music premiered on the River Thames in London on July 17, 1717 at the request of King George I. Several of its movements, such as “Alla Hornpipe” and “Bourrée,” are quite famous and will be easily recognizable by those in attendance.

Asmus hopes the concert will not only be an entertaining experience for those in attendance, but an educational one as well. The performance will include program notes that will give audience members background information on all of the orchestral movements and why they are important pieces of history.

“People tend to forget that just because these composers lived 300 years ago that this music doesn’t matter, but it does,” Asmus said. “If it wasn’t for Handel and Haydn, we wouldn’t have big pop-stars like Ke$ha and Adele. They helped lay the foundation for harmonic language and structure.”

Asmus’s passion for orchestral music is almost palpable and he has done everything to guarantee that this performance will not be one to miss. “This music is incredible,” he said, “It’s amazing, and you’ll learn something from it.”

Tickets for this event are $10. Almost all profits go the musicians with a small portion going to the printing of programs. Tickets are available by emailing legrandebandechorus@gmail.com.