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Bands share the stage for night of musical performances

UNK’s symphonic band and wind ensemble come together for the semester’s first winter concert. Photo by Shelby Berglund / Antelope Staff

UNK’s symphonic band and wind ensemble shared the stage to perform a combined band concert. The concert was the first winter performance of the semester and it was under the direction of Brian Alber and Duane Bierman.

Bierman, professor of music and director of bands at UNK, said he is pleased to provide music education for students through UNK. 

“I am very proud of what Dr. Alber and I do around here because in the central part of the state we’re the only university,” Bierman said. “We’re able to put ourselves forward as being able to provide very high-quality concerts with more adult students who may be studying music to be professionals. We’re able to provide a wider variety with more difficult pieces of music.”

Bierman commented on how this benefits the community as this concert was chiefly performed by future music educators. 

The program performed by the wind ensemble consisted of pieces titled “Porgy and Bess Medley” (1934), “Prelude, Siciliano and Rondo” (1979), “The Sight That Awaits Us” (2023) and “Cajun Folk Songs” (1990). 

Bierman said he likes to pick a wide variety of music for each concert.

“My own personal philosophy is to challenge our group with the best music I can find that is representative of all different types of music, all different types of composers, all different times,” Bierman said.

Alber, associate professor of music and assistant director of bands at UNK, shared more on the significance of the concert and his role in conducting the symphonic band.

“We have an incredibly creative and diverse student body that is participating in our ensembles,” Alber said. “We’re excited that the students get to share their musical talents with a broader audience. Continuing to cultivate an environment of live music-making, that’s still an important part. As much as we like to listen to recorded music, live music is still a really important part of our culture.”

The program performed by the symphonic band consisted of pieces titled “Cenotaph-Fanfare for Band” (1992), “The Low Arc of the Sun from Miniature Suite” (2017), “Café 512” (2010) and “Rondeau Diabolique” (2023). 

“I try to program some music that would be appropriate for them to use in a public school classroom so when they graduate and become band directors, some of this repertoire could be things they could perform with their band,” Alber said. “I also try to find composers that are underrepresented and make sure those are represented in our programs as well.”

Olivia Sheldon, biology student and percussion player for the symphonic band at UNK, said she hoped the audience took away a greater value for music after listening to the performance. 

“I hope others get a deeper appreciation of music and feeling emotions while listening to it,” Sheldon said. “I enjoy being a part of a greater sound of all of us working together to make this beautiful piece of music. I hope others get a better appreciation for music education majors.”

Bennett Magnusson, biochemistry student and French horn player for the symphonic band, shared his passion for being a part of the ensemble. 

“Being able to play an instrument and just kind of have fun for a little bit is really nice,” Magnusson said. “I hope others realize just how nice music can be especially when you’re performing or just listening to it.”

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