Symphonic Winds gave a variety of great perfomances

Ayrton Lauw

Fullerton College’s Symphonic Winds started the night with a strong tune and were one of the only bands to play a new song commissioned to them on Tuesday, April 4.

“I pretty much can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I like playing first trumpet, it’s a great experience and it’s also great to share it with everyone in the crowd,” Johnathan White said.

Under the direction of Anthony Mazzaferro, the band opened the night with “Allegro Barbaro”, a very dark, almost battle-ready tune by Bela Bartok, which was originally a solo piano piece.

Mazzaferro conducting
Anthony Mazzaferro conducting the Symphonic Winds concert in the Fullerton College Campus Theatre on Tues, April 4, 2017. Photo credit: Ayrton Lauw

Next was a piece titled “West Wind Overture” by Julie Giroux.

The song started off with a very light introduction, which lead to a heavy tone of depth from the brass section. The piece took a turn later on with the song building up and the chimes leading to a fanfare, ending with a pleasant walking-like feel.

The band followed with a newly commissioned piece titled “Illuminations on ‘America the Beautiful'” by Mark Camphouse.

Mazzaferro explained to the audience that this song was reminiscent of the style of writing for the concert band. Also, that the song is built on the foundation of the popular patriotic song “America the Beautiful.”

He added that the composer of this song was a euphonium player as it features a solo and duet by the euphonium section.

“[The song] is gorgeous in inception [and] tributary as its a memorial piece for an army veteran and euphonium player,” Mazzaferro said.

Its somber and slow beginnings escalated to clashing tones and almost a cacophony of noise, which hinting a war or fight that ended with the four taps from the tom drums.

After the air was cleared of the uneasiness, the piece took a turn from the clash to an anthem as it featured “America the Beautiful”.

Snare drums sounded off as it continues with its motif of “America the Beautiful” and lead into a dismal version of the same song. A french horn solo followed within the minor feel of the song and an eerie flute and piano feature soared as the song ended on a melancholic note.

“The thing about getting a commission is that you don’t know what you’re going to get until it arrives on your doorstep,” Mazzaferro said.

David Lopez, a new instructor of the woodwinds, was then introduced to play the next piece, “Satiric Dances” a three movement piece by Norman Dello Joio.

David Lopez conducting
David Lopez, conducting “Satiric Dances” at the Fullerton College Campus Theatre on Tues, April 4, 2017. Photo credit: Ayrton Lauw

Lopez jokingly added about the piece, “if anyone is in a music appreciation class and working on a concert report soon, recognize the instruments and incorporate it into the report.”

The first movement, “Allegro Pesante,” started with a strong highlight of the trumpet section and took a fun turn in contrast to the very serious pieces played previously.

The second movement, “Adagio Mesto,” was very different to that of the first, as it highlighted the woodwinds and had a very romantic feel to the tune.

The third movement, “Allegro Spumante,” concluded the piece as the song went back into a fun and energetic mood as it was a polka dance feel with depth from the brass section.

Mazzaferro took the stage as the conductor again with the band playing its fifth piece, “Street Tango,” by Astor Piazzolla. He provided imagery for the audience telling them to imagine being in a sultry Argentinian night club having a drink. The piece had a Latin feel accompanied with trumpet and clarinet solos that gave it a jazz nuance.

“It’s like a nice Latin song for the common ear, it’s something everyone can groove to and you know that it’s dance music,” Jesus Barrientos, a trumpet player, explained about his favorite song, “Street Tango.”

Trumpets and French Horns
Brass section performing at the Symphonic Winds concert in the Fullerton College Campus Theatre on Tues, April 4, 2017. Photo credit: Ayrton Lauw

The band concluded the performance with another three movement piece that was also composed by Julie Giroux titled, “No Finer Calling.” It was noted that this song was dedicated to the United States Air Force’s 60 year anniversary and it is significance to Col. Arnald D. Gabriel, a conductor of the Air Force Band.

The first movement, “Integrity Fanfare and March,” was an inspiring march tune that was described as getting the troops ready to go off to battle. The second movement, “Far From Home,” started by the woodwinds that lead into a deep and wholesome middle and into a patriotic trumpet feature. “Honor Above All,” the final movement and song of the night, had majestic progressions and an epic ending.

“They haven’t had a lot of time on this music, and one of the things we try to teach them is the fact that they don’t have a lot of time to prepare… but they did really well,” Mazzaferro said about the performance.

The Symphonic Winds will have another concert on Thursday, May 4, at the Fullerton College Theatre. They will feature a piece from the “Star Wars” movie soundtrack.

Mazzaferro lightly added, “it’s rare we have a concert that we have a concert on May the fourth, so I’ll buy into it. Just this once.”

Check the Fullerton College Music Department’s website for upcoming concerts including all of the performing groups on campus.