During the snow-filled night on Thursday, Feb. 22, Keene State College’s concert band honored the dead of the recent Florida school shooting to begin its presentation titled, To Name the Unnameable and Communicate the Unknowable.
In honor of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the ensemble performed Ava Maria composed by Franz Bliebl.
In his opening, KSC band director and professor James Chesebrough said the arrangement was unrehearsed.
KSC senior music major Molly McCoy said, “I was incredibly moved. In the middle of it, I started crying.” She said the piece was already impactful on its own but the band performed in a way that allowed the audience to feel the emotion fill the air of the room.
“It was also very incredible for me to be able to see one of my teachers [Chesebrough] feel the emotion before he even lifted the baton,” she said. “We go through these performances and majors wanting to make the world a better place through art, so any time anyone does a performance like that in view of something horrific happening, it really impacts everybody watching it.”
Chesebrough started the ensemble series opening night by informing the audience that, because of the inclimate weather, their featured guests, The Quabbin Regional High School Symphonic Winds, were unable to come to the college to perform.
Afterwards, he said some words on the recent tragedies in Florida and asked the audience to hold the applause of their first performance.
The following musical arrangements were conducted by Chesebrough, student and assistant conductor Eric Dill and guest conductor Peter Lewis.
Before the start of the piece, Stardance, composed by Michael Sweeney, Dill turned to the audience and performers walked off stage and stood in the isles between audience members where they stayed until the end of the composition.
McCoy said she believes Dill conducted very well and applauded him for working with such a difficult piece. “I thought it was so cool that all the instruments were around with [the audience],” she said. “It was incredible.”
KSC sophomore and the concert band’s part-time pianist Jason Coburn said he loves performing and learning music because it teaches you to be a leader and connects people together.
Coburn thought the recital went extremely well. “[Tonight’s concert has] been great,” he said. “The blend of instruments are definitely great. It sounds like they have strengths in all areas.”
KSC senior Katrina Cloutier works at the Redfern Arts Center as an usher and said she has seen KSC’s concert band perform a handful of times over the past two years. “They are very well rehearsed and they sound beautiful,” she said. “I enjoyed listening to them, and I think [the audience] did too.”
McCoy said the KSC concert band’s performance was very dynamic with the different varieties of songs, moods and styles.
Coburn said, “I am grateful to have been apart of [tonight’s recital]. I’m more like an addition to [band] so it’s definitely a privilege that they asked me to be apart of their ensemble.”
Coburn said he is excited for future recitals. “I’m definitely looking forward to the next concert because, for me, I’m on more pieces,” he said. “I think the band, as most ensembles, as the year goes on the sound constantly improves as you practice with the same people.”
Student and Faculty recitals will occur all throughout the months of March and April; upcoming events can be found on the Redfern Arts Center’s website.
Angelique Inchierca can be contacted at email@example.com