Wind Symphony and Symphony Band perform Spring concert

More stories from McKenna Dutton

Students stand in aisle as they play Ave Verum Corpus.

Photo by McKenna Dutton

Students stand in aisle as they play “Ave Verum Corpus”.

On March 12 the halls of the Haas Fine Arts center was filled with spectators waiting for the performance of the Wind Symphony and Symphony Band. 

Directed by Phillip Ostrander and John R. Stewart, this was the first concert after the mask mandate was lifted last Friday, March 11. 

The program had a set list of 17 pieces. Some were performed from the stage, but Ostrander’s Symphony Band performed a piece by memory, “Ave Verum Corpus”.

“It is a setting of the 14th century Eucharistic hymn in Latin ‘Ave verum corpus’ in 1791,” the program said. “Mozart wrote it for Anton Stoll, a friend of Mozart and Joseph Hayden.” 

Students played in the aisles surrounding the audience with sound.

“It gave a surround sound effect and this ensemble deserved this kind of challenge,” Ostrander said. 

The Symphony band also played pieces called “Celtic Dance” and “Valkyrie Rising,” and with the closing of the first half the two ensembles switched. 

Anna Fregien, a second-year student performer, said the Symphony Band’s half of the concert “overall went really well.”  

The Wind Symphony, directed by Stewart, started their half of the performance with “Downey Overture”, composed by Oscar Navarro.  

A note from Navarro in the program said “Downey Overture” is a Latin-American fusion with which I wanted to link my birth country, Spain, and California, the land that, as a result of the two years I lived there, has left a permanent imprint on my heart.”

They then played a five part “Concerto for Wind Ensemble” and the “Irish Tune from County Derry.” The group ended the concert with the four part “Steampunk Suite” composed by Erika Svanoe. 

According to the program, “Steampunk suites attempt to depict various scenes that take place in fictional alternate history that features notable people alive in the Victorian era, including Charles Ive, Marie Curie, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, P.T. Barnum and Nikola Tesla.”  

It was the first concert in almost two years at UW-Eau Claire performed without masks.

In the days leading up to the concert, the two ensembles went on tour.

The ensembles visited high schools and middle schools in both Wisc. and southern Minn. for spring recruiting. Many of the current members in the Symphony and Wind Symphony Bands were recruited through the previous tours. 

“We got to work with hundreds of kids and it encouraged those students to come to Eau Claire in the future,” Ostrander said. 

With that the students and directors alike took a bow and the concert ended with applause. 

Dutton can be reached at [email protected]