Heading down the Gunther Trades building staircase, instrumental music trails your steps. In a room on the fifth floor, the UVU Wind Symphony is rehearsing for its first concert of the semester.
The concert, Heroes of the Modern Era, is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 4th at 7:30 p.m. at the Covey Center for the Arts located on Center Street in Provo.
The concert will be directed by Dr. James Colonna accompanied by pianist Dr. Hilary Demske, and will feature four pieces of music presented in a multimedia format. For the concluding piece, the symphony will play the original “Star Wars” suite by John Williams.
Colonna, who serves as UVU’s Director of Bands, says students should attend because the show is going to be incredible. He says that his shows are not put together randomly; instead, each piece is specially selected to compliment the theme. For this show, all of the pieces compliment the “Star Wars” suite very well.
The first piece is a sophisticated and quirky suite by Lyn Murray. “Firefly,” a piece with a cinematic feel, will follow. Then the symphony will play the “Red Cape Tango” which is part of a symphony that commemorates Superman. Colonna says the students will be familiar with some of the music and will be able to enjoy the rest as it leads up to “Star Wars.”
Tuba player Jared Harding explained that high quality music is not usually found for such a low price. Harding also says Dr. Colonna has a knack for choosing “exciting pieces.”
Jessica Wiley, principle bassoonist, said the concert is “a great way to broaden your horizons.” Fans of Star Wars and Superman, Wiley said, will be pleased.
Upright bass player Dyana Durfee explains why she feels students would be pleased to make it to this Tuesday’s performance. Durfee described it as a “very intricate and lively performance” with plenty going on.
According to Colonna, the Wind Symphony has come a long way over the years as UVU embraces its new university status. In fact, during a recent rehearsal Colonna told his musicians they were “definitely the finest wind players in Utah Valley.”
But it wasn’t always this way. Colonna said that when he began working with the Wind Symphony three years ago, they were still playing like a high school or community college music group. Now, said Colonna, the Wind Symphony is on par with groups at schools like the University of Utah and Utah State University. According to Colonna, when he started as director, the group would not have been able to play the music lined up for their Tuesday performance, but now they are ready.
Due to their improvement and great sound, the group has been receiving a lot of recognition. So much, in fact, that they were invited to play at the 2012 Olympics in London. Unfortunately, they will not be able to attend the Olympics due to funding issues.
The group was also selected to play at the Band Directors National Association’s regional conference in Reno, Nevada this coming March. Colonna says this achievement is an even greater honor than being invited to play at the Olympics.
On their way to the conference, the Wind Symphony will be playing at different high schools in an effort to recruit students to UVU. The symphony also has a second concert lined up for later this semester and several concerts scheduled for the spring.
Students can expect continual and growing excellence from the UVU Wind Symphony. Colonna said he plans to keep stretching the students and himself and he can only imagine how far they’ll go over the next years.
Tickets for Heroes of the Modern Era, purchased through the Covey Center, are sold by phone at 801-852-7007 or online at www.coveycenter.org. Tickets for students cost $8 each while general admission is $10 per ticket.
By SIERRA WILSON