Molly Schecklman —
In celebration of University of Wisconsin–Stout’s 125th Anniversary, the Stout Symphonic Band has created a special theme in their music to perform on Family Weekend. With new faces coming to campus to spend time with their family members in attendance at Stout, it is a chance for the band to show off all of their hard work and preparation of these pieces.
“The theme is ‘Music Then and Now,’ which I thought would be interesting as there was a lot of band music being played at the end of the nineteenth century/early twentieth century and often considered to be the Golden Age of Bands. So I knew there would be a lot of music available. It was also the opportunity to celebrate 125 years of UW–Stout by selecting music that could have been heard around 1891 and contrasting that with band music of today,” said Aaron Durst, the Director of Instrumental Music at Stout.
Durst was in contact with Erika Svanoe, a musical composer, in order to create a piece that would fit into the theme. “I used three musical ideas to compose the piece that relates to the history of UW–Stout: the school Alma Mater, a few notes from the school fight song and ‘Westminster Quarters,’ which is what the campus clock tower chimes to signal the time of day. The title of the new composition ‘With Tower High’ refers to the campus clock tower, and the words are borrowed directly from the lyrics of the school’s Alma Mater,” said Svanoe.
The piece took a few hours of work every morning for about five weeks in order for Svanoe to complete to her liking. However, it has taken the band two 85-minute practices a week since the beginning of the semester, as well as countless hours outside of class to prepare the set list for the Family Weekend Celebration.
Anna Gaede, a Vocational Rehabilitation major at Stout, has been playing the clarinet in band for ten years and in the Stout band for two. “Each song has its own personality and are different in their own way. I feel because of this, there is a picture being painted of different kinds of music throughout the years,” said Gaede.
The Stout Symphonic Band will perform at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 16 in the Great Hall of the MSC.