On Feb. 16, the Mercyhurst Wind Ensemble put on a concert titled “A Summer Evening in Feb-ruary” at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center.
This was a unique concert because several students conducted the ensemble.
This was a very special concert because of that, and for many of the student conductors, this was their first time conducting a concert.
Among the student conductors was senior Music Education major Rachel Kinlan, junior Music Education major Morgan Dowches, junior Music Education major Ethan Wicker, sophomore Music Education major Greta Stoner and Tristain McCray, who is pursuing a post-baccalaureate certification in Music Education.
Each student conductor conducted one piece during the concert.
The first one was called “España Cañi” and was conducted by Wicker.
This was a fast-paced song with Spanish roots, and it is best known as the Spanish Gypsy Dance.
The entire audience was pumped up with energy, and our hearts were racing near the end.
The second was “Sun Dance,” conducted by Dowches.
This was a very challenging, intricate song. It was difficult because it was polymodal and polyrhythmic.
The song is very upbeat and happy, and it made me feel like I was skipping through a meadow on a sunny, summer day.
The song was performed and conducted wonderfully.
The next student-conducted song was “As Summer was Just Beginning,” conducted by McCray.
This song passed from instrument to instrument, with the whole ensemble coming together towards the end before its quiet ending.
It was written in remembrance of famous movie star James Dean, who died far too young.
The piece was meant to represent that we should live every day as if it was the last day in our extraordinary lives.
The next piece was “Heartbeat Five,” conducted by Stoner.
This piece was very difficult because of the numerous percussion parts featured throughout the song.
In total, 25 different percussion instruments with varying timbres were used.
The piece was very energetic but at times left the audience with a hollow feeling until the very last measures.
Lastly we had “His Honor,” conducted by Kinlan.
This piece had many exciting moments in it that contained fast, whimsical melodies, then a peaceful melody and an ending with previous melodies and prosperous runs.
It was truly a wonderful way to end the concert and each of the student conductors were truly incredible.
“The concert went great and the students should be so proud of themselves,” Scott Meier, PhD, the conductor of the Wind Ensemble, said.
“They did a great job and put so much work into it, so it being such a success wasn’t even a surprise,” Meier said.