Bringing together two ensembles, the Gustavus and Vasa Wind Orchestras Concert will display many of the gifted and talented musicians on campus. Taking place March 21 at 1:30 p.m. in Bjoriling Recital Hall, admission is free for anyone who attends.
The Gustavus Wind Orchestra (GWO)is directed by James Patrick Miller and consists of 65 members with many majors. Each of these members have had the opportunity to be principal chair for their section at some point this semester.
The Vasa Wind Orchestra is a 90 member ensemble which differs from GWO by taking on a lighter rehearsal and performance schedule. Conducted by Assistant Professor in Music and Instrumental Dr. Karrin Meffert-Nelson, the Vasa Wind Orchestra allows students who wish to continue instrumental music study but do not have time to commit to GWO.
Sophomore Music Major Henry Elling has been a part of the Vasa Wind Orchestra for the past two years. As section leader for tenor saxophones, Elling has several responsibilities. He makes sure people in his section are practicing, runs sectionals, and interacts with the director.
Playing Sketches on a Tudor Psalm by Fisher Tull, the composition is one of the toughest pieces he has played.
Based on its standard repertoire, the piece will be the best and most emotionally draining performance Vasa will be performing this semester. His role has increased his appreciation for music and how certain parts fit in with each other, it has also helped develop his skills as a leader.
“It’s been so good joining Vasa this year and I love everything in the program.” —Stephanie Peterson
“The preparation has gone really well so far. Being that this is spring semester, we are more experienced and able to put things together faster. It should be better in this sense: we are playing five pieces along with three pieces done by the Gustavus Wind Orchestra with some of the songs playing off of each other. I’m really excited to hear what GWO has been working on themselves,” Elling stated.
Sophomore Music Education Major Nikki Skifton, will be playing as part of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra. Skifton was a member of Vasa last year, but since has joined GWO.
This concert provides Skifton the chance to perform two solos on the flute for the first time since her junior year of high school, and she is incredibly excited about the experience.
“It’s performances like these that focus on everyone’s strengths by switching around parts and by showing the center of the piece. Absolutely nothing will be dull. We have a lot of soloists and great parts,” Skifton said.
Playing some of the most well known band pieces and staples of orchestrated music, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra is looking to entertain.
One piece they will be playing is First Suite in E-flat by Gustav Holst, which is considered to be one of the cornerstone masterworks in concert band repertoire.
In addition, they will be playing Lincolnshire Posy by Percy Grainger. This work is composed of six movements adapted from folk songs.
The renowned pianist and composer has a history with Gustavus as he visited for a few days in 1940, and even joined the College’s ensemble during their 1941 tour in Minnesota. The final piece will be performed with Adjunct Instructor of Horn in Music Melissa Morey and Department Chair of Music and Associate Professor of Trombone Scott Moore.
Some musicians, like Sophomore Music Major Stephanie Peterson, have had the opportunity to be part of both ensembles. Peterson was a member of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra last year and joined Vasa Orchestra earlier this year.
“Absolutely nothing will be dull. We have a lot of soloists and great parts.” —Nikki Skifton
“What I really like is the stylistic diversity. In a solo, I’m able to sound different than when playing together with other instruments. Since there are so many different characters and combinations, there is a strict sound you must always get down. I haven’t been given the opportunity to do this before. It’s been so good joining Vasa this year and I love everything in the program. No matter where I am playing, I will always be playing with people that are much more talented than me and it really helps me to improve. I can tell everyone at this college cares,” Peterson said.
For anyone who is unavailable to attend the concert, it will be live streamed worldwide. For those who are able to make it, they will see an exciting performance showcasing some of the best musicians on campus.