Keene State College’s Music Department has accomplished something they’ve never before attempted. On Thursday, March 9, the KSC Concert Band presented “Locally Grown! Totally Keene!”
The performance, a part of their ensemble recital series, included soloists, guest and assistant conductors, as well as a special dance and cinematography performance.
The night began with Associate Music Professor Dr. Jim Chesebrough walking onto the stage. He conducted the band, composed of about 14 different instruments, in their first song, “American Fanfare.”
After the song was complete and the applause died down, Chesebrough addressed the audience. He introduced junior Callie Carmosino, who conducted the following piece entitled, “October.”
The next piece, “Concert Piece for Trumpet and Band,” featured junior Joe Conti as a trumpet soloist.
For their fourth song of the evening, the Concert Band played Heather Gilligan’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” This piece, created in 2016, was meant to be a representation of gun violence, as said by Gilligan, who spoke to the audience before the performance of the piece.
“The harmonies resolve in the end, and hopefully, life does, too,” said Gilligan, concluding her brief speech.
Chesebrough called the piece “a New Hampshire premiere, if not a New England premiere,” since the piece had only been performed once before.
The last song before intermission involved more than simply the band. “Solitary Dancer” featured a performance by Amanda Untracht, Makayla Ferrick, Seiichiro Okuma and Sultan Thahir.
While the band played the song, Untracht and Ferrick danced to the music in the Redfern’s Wright Theater. Their performance was filmed live and streamed into the Main Theater, where the Concert and was being held.
The collaboration was a work between Chesebrough and Contract Theatre and Dance Lecturer Cynthia McLaughlin.
When McLaughlin, who choreographed the dance piece, sent out information regarding auditions for dancers, Ferrick said that she was confused.
“At first, I didn’t really know what it was for, to be honest,” she said.
McLaughlin mentioned that she was interested in casting either a soloist or a trio, but she ultimately ended up giving the role to the duo of Ferrick and Untracht.
“I didn’t realize how big this project was, honestly, until [the technical rehearsal]…We don’t usually do this kind of collaboration with other things so…I didn’t realize how many people are actually working on this project together,” said Ferrick.
Thahir and Okuma were responsible for filming and live streaming the performance to the Main Theatre.
“I thought it went well. There are challenges filming a live event with not being able to go back and edit our mistakes. You have to follow the rhythm of what is right in front of you even if it strays from what you have been rehearsing for however long,” said Thahir, a senior film production major.
After the conclusion of the piece and a 15-minute intermission, the band played three more songs: “National Emblem,” conducted by senior Hailley Dufresne, “The Witch and the Saint,” conducted by KSC 2015 alumna Samantha Fowler, and “First Suite in Eb for Military Band Op. 28 No. 1,” which included three sets.
First-year music education voice major Emily Bingham was one of the four tuba players in the concert.
“I think it went really well,” she said. “The tone was great. The whole band was really connected to each other, which made it a lot better than what it normally sounds like, but I think we really pulled a really great concert tonight.”
Senior writing major Tori Tucker and junior women and gender studies major Emma Simpson both attended and enjoyed the evening’s event. Tucker “loved it” and Simpson “liked the dance piece.”
Chesebrough commented on the performance as a whole, and also touched on the collaborative piece, saying, “It was outstanding…and I had a good time and I think the players had a good time; I hope the audience had a good time. We try to get, the goal for this one was to show off Keene State’s collaborative artistic community.”
McLaughlin also commented on the dance piece. “Oh, I thought it went swimmingly well, that it was just so much fun,” she said. “It was a joy doing this project with Jim.”
Alexandria Saurman can be contacted at email@example.com