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CSU Wind Symphony presents “War and Peace”

Rebecca Phillips conducted the CSU Wind Symphony’s most recent concert, “War and Peace: The Hundred Years’ War,” on Feb. 24 in Griffin Concert Hall. With guest musicians and featured directors, the performance provided both diverse music and performers.

To begin the concert French horn players gathered in various corners of the concert hall to play through a call-and-response fanfare, “The Duke of Marlborough Fanfare” by Percy Aldridge Grainger. The slightly discordant but victorious piece opened the concert, transitioning smoothly into the next piece as the horn players returned to the stage.


The Colorado State University Wind Symphony performed at the University Center for the Arts Friday night. Photo credit: Brooke Buchan


“Lincolnshire Posy” by Percy Aldridge Grainger, in six movements, provided the primary theme for the first half of the concert. Each movement represented a story, from a flirtatious sailor to a murder in the woods. The music began with muted brass and a maritime aesthetic, fading to a slower movement in a major key. Each movement fit the mood of the stories narrated by members of the symphony. Switching between major and minor keys, slow and fast tempos and varying degrees of dynamics, the movements flowed together to create one whole message in the piece.

Stephen Dombrowski, renowned tuba player, joined the Wind Symphony for “Tuba Concerto” by Edward Gregson. The unusual, low melody carried the rest of the harmonization in the ensemble, creating a unique sound in four movements. Multiple tuba features and solos transitioned each movement and created a series of melodies that responded to each other throughout the piece.

After a short intermission the Wind Symphony returned with graduate conducting student Andrew Gillespie conducting “Peterloo Overture” by Malcolm Arnold, arranged by Charles Sayre. Snare drums positioned themselves on either side of the stage and kept a steady beat throughout the piece, which presented a minor key and an intense crescendo. The music reached such a loud dynamic that the floors of the concert hall vibrated with each measure. The piece developed into a major key and mellowed out, finishing the movement in a happier sounding mood than it began.

The Wind Symphony then welcomed Daniel Berard from Fossil Ridge High School as a guest conductor for “Colonel Bogey March” by Kenneth J. Alford. The familiar piece struck a chord with the audience. Its light and airy major key created a new mood after the intensity of war-themed music. High woodwind features decorated the melody and members of the symphony even whistled along to add to the theme.

Renowned tuba player Stephen Dombrowski bows after his performance with the Colorado State University Wind Symphony. Photo credit: Brooke Buchan


To close out the concert Phillips returned to the podium and the symphony played “Paris Sketches: Homages for Band” by Martin Ellerby in four movements. The first movement, minor and mysterious, captivated the audience with woodwind features and muted brass. A pulsing and ominous second movement paved the way for a slower third movement consisting of call-and-response between different instrumentations. For the final movement a cheerful and lively major key featured each section. Dynamic contrast changed the moods before a loud and victorious fanfare that echoed through the concert hall.

After an encore performance the audience gave the CSU Wind Symphony a standing ovation.

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