Soloists highlight Wind Symphony

Nicole Koster

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The Wind Symphony returned to the Columbia Theatre on Thursday, April 26. The concert featured two soloists, winners of the Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity Concerto Competition.  The evening was conducted by Southeastern’s Director of Bands Glen J. Hemberger.
“Our chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, several years ago started a concerto competition for wind symphony, and students are eligible in the fall to audition. We are in the fourth year of concerto competition now, and I am thrilled with the two soloists chosen for the performance,” said Hemberger.  
Zakkary Garner, a junior music education major, played “Fantasia for alto saxophone,” which was composed by Claude T. Smith in 1983.
“It was an incredible experience,” said Garner. “When I first heard this piece one year ago, I didn’t believe that a saxophone could sound like that, and I was so inspired that I bought the piece and started practicing it immediately after I got it.”
According to Garner, his goal of winning the concerto competition was reached, and the hard work had paid off.
“It became a dream of mine, and a personal goal and challenge, to win the concerto competition for the opportunity to perform this piece with the Wind Symphony. The dream became a reality, and I’m so grateful for all the support of my family and friends and for all those involved,” said Garner.
The second soloist to take the stage was William Pratt. He is in his first year of masters for the trumpet music performance degree and has already received his bachelor’s degree from Columbus University. Pratt performed “Concerto for trumpet,” which was composed by Franz Joseph Haydn and arranged by W.J. Duthoit.
“I enjoyed playing with the Wind Symphony,” Pratt said. “It’s always a rewarding experience to perform a concert after having rehearsed for several months, and one of the highlights was being able to perform with Zakkary, who is an extremely accomplished and gifted musician,” said Haydn.
A third student was recognized at the Wind Symphony for being a composer. Senior music education major Desmin Vinnett composed “Imperial Court,” which opened up the performance.
“One of the wonderful things about being at a university is that our students are very, very talented. Many of them delve into the composition world and they love exploring the different ensembles that they can write for. When Desmin brought this [piece] to me, I was so pleased with his writing, and I just thought it was a wonderful way to start the program tonight,” said Hemberger.
Other pieces performed were from William Pitts, Johan de Meji, who will be guest conducting the band next fall, and David R. Gillingham.
“William Pitts writes some good stuff. He comes up with some wacky titles, but the pieces are great, with lots of energy, lots of neat sounds,” Hemberger said.
The last piece played was composed by David R. Gillingham titled, “Galactic Empires” from 1998. According to Hemberger, the piece depicts a musical journey through galaxies. Though there are three pieces within, they all segway into one piece.
This performance from the Wind Symphony was also in preparation for a spring 2013 trip to Chicago. They will be in the Percy Grainger Wind Band Festival. For more information on the Wind Symphony’s upcoming events contact Glen Hemberger at [email protected]

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