Family, friends and fans of music gathered on Sunday Dec. 3 in the Memorial Student Center’s Great Hall to hear the Symphonic Band first concert of the year. The concert consisted of the symphonic band and the Tower Saxophone Quartet.
The Symphonic Band opened with five songs, each followed by some context by the director, Dr. Aaron M. Durst. The Tower Saxophone Quartet then played two songs, and the Symphonic Band finished the concert with a couple of Christmas tunes. The band really got into the Christmas spirit, particularly in the last song, when several members, including the director, donned Santa hats.
Among the 78 students involved, 10 were selected for the 2018 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Honor Band (along with three other students), which consists of students throughout the UW System. The only graduating senior in the band, Taylor Swindle, was among those selected. “It’s rather bittersweet. Being in band has been the best part of my college career, I’ve met so many amazing people and I’ve been given incredible opportunities because of it,” said Swindle. Also among the band were four students who received the 2017-18 Jazz Project Scholarship. The Jazz Project is New Orleans style music performed on the street.
Durst fondly expressed how pleased he was that UW–Stout’s Performing Arts department is so successful and not lacking in students, despite the fact that UW–Stout doesn’t have a music major. Durst said to the audience, “Even though none of them are music majors, we still have an astounding amount of students involved. Every one of them is passionate about music and they work incredibly hard as they dedicate much of their time to practicing.”
The expectations are high for the spring concert in April after the well-received performance given by the band. Swindle said, “The students in band are there because they want to make music. It all results in this giant culmination that is our concert, where we pour our hearts into the performance because it’s something we want to do.”