Wind ensemble, symphonic band perform before tour


Cameron Grafel plays french horn in the wind ensemble. Shelby Burglund / Antelope Staff

Maria Klingelhoefer

UNK’s Department of Music presented its annual spring concert featuring the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble on April 26. The night marked the first performance of Wind Ensemble’s tour, which they have not done for three years. 

“This will be our seniors’ last home concert, but we are excited that it is our first performance for our tour,” said Brian Alber, associate professor of music at UNK.

People from campus to community joined together for a night filled with music. Wind Ensemble took the lead for the night as they played Concerto for Trumpet by Alexander Arutiunian, which featured Sadie Uhing, senior music education major and UNK’s Concerto/Aria Competition winner. 

“Music is so powerful and I’m so grateful for having so many people here,” Uhing said.

The group also played the exciting fanfare “Mother Earth” by David Maslanka, the lovely “Halcyon Hearts” by Katahj Copley and a special piece played by the percussion section titled “Dark Filaments” by Michael Ptacin. Senior Connor Morrison was featured as the student conductor who led this piece.

The Symphonic Band followed shortly after intermission with its forceful first tune “Drive!” By Patrick Roszell, featuring Uhing as the student conductor.

“In order to be a student conductor you have to take a class,” Uhing said. “We talk about conductor strategies and practice a lot.”

Following with a somber song, they played “Blessed Are They” by Johannes Brahms, the joyful sounds of “Wilderness” by Cait Nishimura and finished the evening with an old western vibe, “Whip and Spur Galop” by Thomas S. Allen.

“Think of a march with more caffeine,” Alber said. 

It was a soulful but uplifting night for the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble, as they were able to share all the hard work they have done over the past few weeks. 

“This concert has been my favorite,” said Will Cavill, junior in music education. “We spent a lot of time on Wilderness, especially on the articulation and to get that togetherness feeling.”

After the show, the Wind Ensemble members hustled to pack and arrange the instruments into a U-Haul since they were to leave the next morning at 7 a.m. 

Chloe Harms, music education major, was among those who were frantically rushing back and forth but was able to explain what her experience of tour has been like.

“It has been so great,” said Harms. “I loved the pieces that were chosen, and I know it [the tour] hasn’t happened for a while, but I’m in the luggage crew and we have to pack 30 pieces of percussion away. I know there’s a group that does the advertising and propaganda, and there’s other groups too, I just don’t remember the names.”

The UNK Wind Ensemble will travel northwest to play five concerts in two days.

COVID-19 prevented the band from touring for the last few years, but now the students and Alber are excited for the opportunity to tour again. The group will perform in North Platte, Bridgeport, Alliance, Hemmingford and Mitchell, South Dakota. On one of their final days before they return to Kearney, the band will see the Black Hills and Crazy Horse monuments in South Dakota.