By Julie Espinosa
Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony will come together under the batons of Don Peterson and David Blackinton in the de Jong concert hall Wednesday to musically narrate a wide range of pieces.
Peterson?s Symphonic Band students have lauded his ability to mold the music his students play. Tanya Mitchell, a saxophonist and music major from major from Orlando, Fla., said she enjoys how Peterson helps the band really interpret music.
?He has a great way [of explaining] the music so we can perform better,? said Mitchell. ?As a band, we come together to express a story?to make beautiful what someone else has created.?
Peterson has been at BYU for 19 years, and he taught at American Fork High School for 10 years before that. Only half of the Symphonic Band?s 85 members are music majors; the other half play for fun. The one-credit class rehearses together for four hours each week.
Meleece Cheal, a music major from Mendon and piccolo player in the Symphonic Band, said she enjoyed the potential for growth the band offers.
?It?s the stepping up band,? Cheal said. ?Symphonic Band provides an opportunity for students to refine their skills.?
David Blackinton directs the Wind Symphony, a smaller elite group that travels internationally. This year they will tour the Scandinavian countries for a month, playing a program of light and melodic music they will showcase in a March 30 concert.
Mitchell said she was impressed with Blackinton?s ability to help the musicians understand how they can play better.
?He?s really capable of pinpointing what needs to be fixed in the ensemble and he helps us understand our potential,? she said. ?He knows where to go to make the music alive.?
Wednesday?s concert will include the Symphonic Band?s rendering of ?Slava,? which is, according to the sheet music introduction, a ?rousing piece of vaudevillian razz-ma-tazz.? Leonard Bernstein wrote the piece in honor of Russian composer Rostropovich. Symphonic Band also will play ?Sleep,? a nuanced and mesmerizing piece by Eric Whitaker first performed by BYU Singers.
This combined concert consolidates what used to be two separate events. The directors hope to increase ticket sales, since they offer a chance to hear BYU?s two top bands in the same performance. The collaboration should be worth hearing, Peterson said.
?When they do well and they feel good about it, it?s really fun,? Peterson said.