If you spent Thursday, October 23 evening anywhere but the Shaw Center, you missed out. The Symphonic Band held their “Joyful Sounds” concert and played “Estactic Fanfare”, “Sheltering Sky,” “Noisy Wheels,” “Danzon,” and three movements of Vaughn Williams.
According to Angela Bradford, flute and piccolo player, those who missed the concert “missed out on hearing the new GU symphonic band sound. We have strengthened our abilities, and we continue to improve, which is what many heard at the concert. You missed out on the energy and talent of each of the performers.”
The concert was the first of the year, and therefore also the first for the new band director, Dr. Erin Bodnar. Angela says, “She has challenged us, made a point to focus on our strengths and weakness, and created a program that ensures we can perform as well as learn.” The concert was a first for others besides the director. This was the first concert for all of the freshmen band members, like Mikayla Austin, who plays the first clarinet and the e flat clarinet. Mikayla enjoyed her first concert, although it was different from her experiences in high school. “My past band concert experience usually lasted about two hours. This concert lasted maybe an hour.” Mikayla was excited to have a solo for this concert, among other players. She encourages friends of band members to come out and support their friends to all of the band concerts.
The most exciting part about this concert for Angela was the “visiting professionals who performed with us during the concert.” Performing with professionals was a great experience for all band members. The combined sound of the band with special guests was amazing, and the band learned a lot from the great talent of their guests.
Angela thinks this is a promising new year for the band. She says, “I love the fact that we are being challenged and that everyone is putting their best foot forward. It is a new year with a new director. Who knows what we will be able to accomplish this year? I love how we have a group of people who have a passion to play music whether you are a music major or not.” That’s what the Graceland Symphonic Band is all about, and what the audience saw at the concert. The band is full of all kinds of different musicians in different majors, but all are dedicated to playing good music and working together. Angela says, “I have already seen the band improve in strides this year.”
If you did miss this concert, you don’t have to wait too long for the next one. The next concert is November 18. Mikayla says, “The concert is free and everyone in the band works very hard. Everyone is determined for success.” Angela agrees. “If you don’t play, at least come and support the arts and your friends who are apart of it. They put in a lot of time and effort and it is nice to know our friends and family come to support what we do.”