On March 12, the halls of the Haas Fine Arts Center were filled with spectators awaiting the performance of Wind Symphony and Symphony Band.
Conducted by Phillip Ostrander and John R. Stewart, it was the first gig after the the mask mandate has been lifted last Friday, March 11.
The program had a set list of 17 pieces. Some were performed from the stage, but Ostrander’s Symphony Band performed a piece from memory, “Hail Verum Corpus”.
“It is a setting of the 14th century Eucharistic hymn in Latin ‘Ave verum corpus’ in 1791,” the program said. “Mozart wrote it for Anton Stoll, a friend of Mozart and Joseph Hayden.”
The students performed in the aisles surrounding the audience with sound.
“It gave a surround sound effect and this set deserved that kind of challenge,” Ostrander said.
The group Symphony also played pieces entitled “Celtic Dance” and “Valkyrie Rising”, and with the close of the first half, both sets changed.
Anna Fregien, a second-year student performer, said that half of the Symphony Band concert “went very well overall.”
The Wind Symphony, conducted by Stewart, began its performance half with (Downey Overture), composed by Oscar Navarro.
A note from Navarro in the program said “Downey Overture” is a Latin American fusion with which I wanted to link my native country, Spain, and California, the land which, following the two years that I have lived, left a permanent imprint in my heart.
They then performed a five-part “Concerto for Wind Ensemble” and “Irish Tune from County Derry”. The band ended the concert with the four-part “Steampunk Suite” composed by Erika Svanoe.
According to the program, “The Steampunk Sequels attempt to depict various scenes that take place in a fictional alternate history featuring notable characters living in the Victorian era, including Charles Ive, Marie Curie, HG Wells, Jules Verne, PT Barnum and Nikola Tesla”.
It was the first concert in nearly two years at UW-Eau Claire performed without a mask.
In the days leading up to the concert, the two ensembles went on tour.
The ensembles visited high schools and colleges in both Wiscs. and southern Minnesota for spring recruitment. Many current members of the bands Symphony and Wind Symphony were recruited from previous tours.
“We have worked with hundreds of children and it has encouraged these students to come to Eau Claire in the future,” Ostrander said.
With that, the students and directors bowed and the concert ended with applause.
Duton can be reached at [email protected]