This weekend, there will be winds of a finer tune blowing through campus as the Columbia University Wind Ensemble hosts its third annual Festival of Winds.
Tickets are $5 with a Columbia ID and $10 without, and the concert will be held from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 6, in Lerner’s Roone Arledge Auditorium.
Featuring several hundred performers from various on- and off-campus ensembles, the festival gives exposure to a genre of music and a group of musicians whose talent often goes unrecognized. The proceeds from this year’s concert will benefit “Making Music Matter,” a music education program for fourth and fifth graders at P.S. 125 that teaches the students how to play instruments.
Andy Pease, the principal director of the Wind Ensemble, described their role as “giving a musical life to children who otherwise might not have one.” The program was founded in 2009 and is supported by the Morningside Area Alliance. The money will go toward renting instruments and buying supplementary musical materials.
The P.S. 125 band will perform during the festival to showcase all it has learned. It will be joined by the JHS 185 Elite Band, Manhattan Wind Ensemble, Brooklyn College Conservatory Wind Ensemble, Princeton University Wind Ensemble, and Grand Street Community Band.
The Columbia University Wind Ensemble will play the following pieces of music: “The Cowboys” (John Williams, arranged by Jim Curnow for hornist Sarah Sechan), “Yosemite Autumn” (Mark Camphouse for hornist Andy Knowlton), “Moorside March” (Gustav Holst, guest conducted by Ron Nahass), “Pagan Dances” (James Barnes for flautist Laura Hopwood), and finally, “The Washington Post March” (John Philip Sousa).
In particular, “The Washington Post March” stands out as it will be performed by a combined band that includes more than 250 musicians. “Pagan Dances” is a beautiful, whimsical piece that features a flute solo. “The Cowboys” opens up with a brisk, fast-paced tempo with brass fanfares. As the name suggests, the piece has a Western feel that is propelled by the lower brass, with an increasing percussion intensity as the song progresses. There is an oboe interlude, and the flute and band join in unison. For the finale, the lower brass continues to propel the music.
Throughout the entire rehearsal, the conductor is very constructive. It is obvious that the members enjoy playing with one another and that they learn from one another each time they perform—something that they hope shows through on Sunday.