Top ensemble features well-known tunes

GVL / Nathan Kalinowski 
Symphonic Wind Ensemble practicing for an upcoming performance.

GVL / Nathan Kalinowski Symphonic Wind Ensemble practicing for an upcoming performance.

Audra Gamble

The Grand Valley State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble will make its debut for the academic year on Oct. 13, featuring music by John Phillip Sousa, Leonard Bernstein, John Mackey and others.

Well-known pieces like “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “Symphonic Suite from West Side Story” will be heard at the premiere. The music will be recognizable to even those who are strangers to the classical music world.

“Anyone who has seen ‘West Side Story’ should enjoy the ‘Symphonic Suite,’ and everyone should know ‘Stars and Stripes Forever,’” euphonium player Ricky Maycroft said. “This concert is a great opportunity for any student wanting to get into classical or modern classical music or anyone who played in band in high school and wants to see a top-notch group perform.”

The Symphonic Wind Ensemble is the highest level wind ensemble at GVSU, so while the music is well known, it still presented a challenge to the members of the group.

“We have some great repertoire on this concert. The Bernstein is extremely difficult but the band makes some great music with it,” Maycroft said. “All of these pieces really challenge the skill of our musicians, and it will be exciting to listen to and watch.”

The selected pieces are of many different styles, providing a variation for the music students to play.

“The diversity of the program is very unique,” freshman trumpeter Jason Grooms said. “I’m most excited for the wide range of emotion and intense energy that will be present.”

As this is the first concert of the year, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble has been preparing since the start of the academic year. The students of the ensemble have been learning how to perform the music, but they have also picked up other skills along the way.

“It has taught me how to listen to many more things that happen around me,” Grooms said. “It taught me how to be patient, confident and as always with these types of concerts, teamwork.”

The concert will take place at 3 p.m. in the Louis Armstrong Theatre in the Performing Arts Center and is free and open to the public.