The Dawson County symphonic band performed its final concert of the season on Thursday, May 12, combining forces with the eighth-grade band to put together a large Spring Concert.
In addition to the band playing a variety of pieces, the band also recognized the outgoing seniors, those who earned letters, award winners and announced next year’s marching band show theme and members of leadership.
The program began with a message of solidarity for Ukraine.
Band director Nicholas Gattis conducted the band in opening the concert with the Ukrainian national anthem “Ukraine has not Perished” followed up by the Star-Spangled Banner.
The first full-length piece played was one composed in the immediate wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to Gattis, many symphonic bands across the United States have made the decision this spring to perform “Kyiv, 2022”, a composition that reconfigured “Moscow, 1941.”
“We learned about the Ukraine National Anthem and Ukrainian composers while having discussions about what was going on in the world and gaining the ability to communicate a current idea through music,” Gattis said. “What made the piece more important is knowing that hundreds of other bands performed this piece this spring, allowing us to take part in something much larger than our auditorium.”
While the original piece told the story of the Soviet Union’s resistance against Nazi Germany, the updated piece tells a tale of Ukraine’s perseverance in the face of Russian invasion.
Kyiv, 2022 included similar features and melodies as Moscow, 1941, but added new layers and emotions that evoked a sense of immediacy relevant to the current situation.
After a brief set of announcements, the band would play their transitionary song of the night, the iconic “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg.
This piece highlighted the strengths of each section as the repetition of the main idea was displayed by brass and woodwinds alike. The change of pace also tested the cohesion of the band as a whole.
Following that, the band would go through its recognitions before wrapping up the program with more modern compositions.
The recognitions included the naming of next marching band season’s drum major, Ace Park, as well as the winner of the John Phillip Sousa Awards, Palmer Hartley.
To finish the program, the band played popular compositions including “The Pink Panther Theme”, selections from The Rolling Stones, and an encore that included two “Star Wars” pieces.
“This was the first time I have performed 'pops' music with this ensemble, and it was a refreshing way to end the year,” Gattis said. “When performing songs that the audience knows you have to play it with the right about of style to make them believe they are at the movies or a rock concert. I certainly enjoyed it and the students did, too.”
While this school year’s band schedule has finished, the marching band will commence summer band camp beginning the week of Monday, July 18, with color guard and percussion pre-camp held the previous week.