The Keene State College Concert Band filled the Main Theatre of the Redfern Arts Center with music last Thursday night, Nov. 2, for their Fall Concert, “GRACE.” Conductor and Music Director Dr. James Chesebrough was accompanied by assistant conductors, senior students Amy Buonpane, Micayla Mahoney and Emma Nelson. The concert also featured euphonium soloist Derrick Hegeman, and welcomed Composer in Residence and guest conductor, Josh Brennan.
For Buonpane, Mahoney and Nelson, this was their last performance with Concert Band, as they will pursue student teaching next semester.
“I felt it went really well. We’ve been working all semester on it. We picked our pieces at the end of last semester, so it’s been a long time coming,” Buonpane said.
Nelson also agreed that the concert went very well.
“It felt amazing. I wasn’t nervous at all. It felt like a second home,” Nelson said. “I’m very happy with how it went.”
First-year Cailyn Brochey played in the Percussion Ensemble in the performance, and said she was excited to continue her involvement with Concert Band next semester.
“[It’s been] super fun. Everyone is really welcoming, and they make it really welcoming to be here,” Brouchey said of her first experiences in the KSC Concert Band.
Brennan, who composed the piece “Odin” that was performed, conducted the piece in a truly interactive way. Between rhythmic stomping of the audience used to represent reinforcements of the ‘army,’ and shouting war cries between the ensemble and the audience, the piece was a unique experience. The intense music of the piece also helped to represent a ‘battle.’
“I was trying to think of another way to make those ‘reinforcements’ a thing. I got the idea to make the audience DO something,” Brennan said. “It makes everybody feel another way about [the music] when they are a part of it.”
Brennan said he composed the piece before he graduated from KSC in 2015, during his junior year, and that it felt good to be back. To prepare for the performance, Chesebrough said Brennan worked with the Concert Band twice over FaceTime and once in-person.
KSC student and attendee of the show Hannah Love said she was very happy with how the performance went.
“It was amazing. The music was beautiful. I shed a few tears it was so great,” Love said, laughing. “Very well written and even better played. All the conductors were amazing; they put in so much effort and work, I’m really proud of all that they did.”
Love said the piece “Into the Raging River” was her favorite piece performed throughout the night.
Chesebrough contributed the success of the night to the hard work and practice put in by the students.
“The standout for me were the three young women who conducted,” Chesebrough said. “I was happy for them. If I said I was proud, I am proud, but I am proud because they are such good musicians and [the Concert] went so well for them.”
Meridith King can be contacted at email@example.com