Keene State’s Saxophone and Brass Ensembles performed a combined concert at the Redfern Arts Center on Sunday, Nov. 12.
The night began with the Saxophone Ensemble who performed six pieces, beginning with “Drop After Drop” by Maxim Shalygin. This was followed by “May” by Michael Torke, “Oseh Shalom” by Nurit Hirsch, “Beale Street Blues” by W.C. Handy and “Keltic Suite.”
Craig Sylvern, the conductor for the Saxophone Ensemble, explained his view on the semester thus far, “It’s been pretty similar to other years… The size of the ensemble has ranged anywhere from four up to twelve. This semester we have eight… and we’re doing a fairly new program… all but one piece is composed by a living composer.”
Sylvern said he decided on the repertoire with the help of members within the ensemble.
“Some other years I heard some pieces that I thought would be good to play,” Sylvern said. “This semester a couple of pieces were suggested by members of the ensemble… I think it’s helpful because they have some word… They’re invested in what we’re doing because it was their idea.” The final piece they performed was arranged for saxophone by senior Teraysa Majewski. The piece is titled “Full Heart Fancy” by Lucky Chops.
Teraysa Majewski introduced her piece to the audience, stating, “My first finished piece was an arrangement of Elton John’s ‘I’m Still Standing’ … for us to perform at our final concert of the year. Unfortunately, the pandemic stopped that from happening but I never stopped arranging my music…”
She went on to explain her arrangement for this performance. “At the beginning of the semester when Dr. Sylvern asked us for repertoire suggestions for this concert. I suggested this piece that I heard in a video game and offered to look for arrangements of it to play. When I couldn’t find any I liked, I took it upon myself to write my own,” Majewski said.
The Saxophone Ensemble performed their pieces and were met with applause as teary-eyed Majewski took her bow with the rest of the group.
The Brass Ensemble followed this performance. The ensemble performed several pieces in smaller groups and then joined together at the end of the show for two pieces. The final pieces were both fantasy-inspired; the first was the story of a dragon and the second was about a grand journey. These pieces were introduced by Brass Ensemble’s Director Seelan Manickam.
Regarding his choice of piece for the finale, Manickam explained he’s a big fan of fantasy and mythology, stating, “We are going to take you on a journey today, this is one of our longest pieces that we’ve ever done… This is a movie score without the movie.”
The ensemble went on to perform a nearly ten-minutelong piece in a group of fourteen performers on an array of instruments. The performance ended with applause as the group took their bows.
Benjamin Martins can be contacted at