The Yavapai College concert hall resounded with sweet and spicy sounds on Sunday as the three large instrumental ensembles played their hearts out at their annual spring concert. Present were the Concert Band, directed by Gary Flowers, which is composed of community members and a few students. The Symphony Orchestra, directed by Dr. Roy Brieling features many Yavapai students and community members. The Symphonic Band, also directed by Brieling, has students, some faculty members and players from the community.
The concert started with the Concert Band performing three numbers. The highlight of their performance was probably “As Twilight Falls,” a lyrical piece by Robert Sheldon, a modern composer born in 1954. They also played pieces by Leonard Orcino, another modern composer and by Mendelssohn. The concert band draws from several areas of the community and also gives Yavapai music education students the chance to learn new instruments, a valuable resume item. Anyone can join, but you do have to sign up for it as a Yavapai class. Most (but not all) members played an instrument in grade or high school. If you are interested contact the Yavapai College music department. They practice on Tuesday afternoon, but not during the summer, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.
During the set up period the Saxophone Quartet entertained from the balcony. They played a couple of pieces by George Frideric Handel, which was very interesting. You don’t really expect to hear baroque quartets played on the saxophone. But they did very well, playing with admirable tone and control.
The Symphony Orchestra played four pieces, including another piece by Sheldon, “Danzas Cubanas.” They also played two pieces by more classical composers, “Dance of the Hours” by Amilcare Ponchielli , and three movements from Georges Biaet’s Carmen Suite No.2. “Dance of the Hours” is a kind of musical test of concentration for the audience. If you can listen without seeing dancing Hippos or thinking of Camp Granada you win. The pieces from Carmen featured the orchestra’s fine trumpet player, Luis Morales, whose intricate and polished work helped give this much played piece a new shine. The percussion section was prominent in Sheldon’s piece, a set of dances celebrating the joy and energy of Afro-Cuban music. The piano (Thomas Marcinek), trombone (William Bowers), flute (Kirsten Huff) and trumpet (Luis Morales) also had solos.
The last group of the afternoon was the Symphonic Band. All their pieces were by modern composers from “Selections from Les Miserables” to” March-Bou-Shu” by Japanese composer Satoshi Yagisawa who built it on the foundation of a Japanese folk song, Boushu Oiwake. The band obviously enjoyed this piece very much and attacked it with verve and precision. Another highlight was the “Suite for Tuba,” played by tuba soloist Dakota Rutt. One is not really used to hearing such lyricism from a tube, but Rutt (a Yavapai college student) really showed his mastery of his instrument. The music flowed.
Dr. Brieling , conductor of the Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Band said after the concert, “I was really proud of them all. Two of the pieces they played were of the highest level of difficulty, usually played by professional and university groups.” He also said, “Some of our student players plan to go on in music, but many are just playing because they love of music.”
Trumpet soloist Luis Morales is an Embry Riddle (pilot training) student who said, “I really like playing in the groups, it’s a very good way to release stress.” Morales is from California and spent eight years in the Marine Corps, playing in Marine bands.
Dakota Rutt is the Yavapai Music Departments “Outstanding Student of the Year” this year. Dr. Brieling said of him, “I wish all my students were life Dakota, he’s just a great all round person.” Dakota is about to leave Yavapai for NAU where he plans to study music education. He comes from a musical family, his mother Susan Rutt plays the trombone and baritone in the Concert Band. A native of Peoria he attended Centennial High School where he studied with David Piestch.
The Bands have three concerts a year, so the next one won’t be until next fall, early October if last year is any indication. The ticketing process will be changing next year, so watch your eNews for further updates.