The Ouachita Baptist University Symphonic Band will present its spring concert March 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Jones Performing Art Center on Ouachita’s campus.
“The Symphonic Band is made up of students from all different majors. There are some music majors in the group, but for the most part, these musicians are members of the student body who really enjoy playing band literature,” said Robert Hesse, OBU associate instructor of music and conductor of the Symphonic Band. “We are performing music that is easy to listen to and is very energized. All students will be able to relate to the different musical stories that will be told through the music.”
The performance will include symphonic music from current composers in an effort to inform future music educators about composers that could be taught in the future. Many of the selections may be new to both listeners and the band.
“We hope to introduce everyone to some of the newest literature that is out there,” Hesse said. “We are also experimenting with some student conducting and could very well have some guest conductors on the concert.”
The concert will include several pieces with American themes, including “American Flourish” by Robert W. Smith, a new piece based on famous American patriotic themes such as “Yankee Doodle” and “The Star Spangled Banner.” Also, “Southern Hymn” by Samuel R. Hazo mixes a traditional southern hymn with “new and exciting chord structures,” Hesse said. The piece is “not what you normally hear from your typical southern hymn.” Another piece dedicated to the rural U.S. is “American Barndance” by Richard L. Saucedo. Hesse noted, “You will want to kick up your heels with this new piece written to sound like you are right smack dab in the middle of a barn dance.”
Other selections have more exotic roots, including “Celtic Voyage” by Melanie Donahue, a new composer who draws inspiration from Celtic music and dance; Erik Morales’ “Sunburst,” a new work that will take listeners on a journey to far away places; and “Arabian Dances” by Brian Balmages. “You will want to hear this new and exciting arrangement that is full of energy and lots of percussion parts,” Hesse said.
Other pieces included in the concert, James Swearingen’s “Divinum Mysterium” and Warren Barker’s “Deir’ in De,” have flowing, lyrical qualities. “Divinum Mysterium” will feature Carla Eubanks, a junior communication sciences and disorders major from Mabelvale, Ark., as a French horn soloist. “Its luscious harmonies and beautiful musical lines will put you at peace and in a very calm setting,” Hesse said. “Deir’ in De” contains similarly soothing melodies, according to Hesse. “You will just melt when you hear this selection.
“We hope that many students will want to come to this free concert and experience the musical excitement that these wonderful musicians have worked so hard to prepare for them,” Hesse added.
For more information about the concert or if you would like to join the Symphonic Band, contact Robert Hesse at email@example.com or (870) 245-5142.
By Becca Watts