Wind Symphony opens season

Matthew Hawkins plays string base during the Southeastern Wind Symphony's season opening concert "There's a First Time for Everything."

The Southeastern Wind Symphony showcased university musicians with the season opener “There’s a First Time for Everything.”

The concert began at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 28 at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts. The concert featured “First Suite in E-flat” by Gustav Holst, “First Essay” by Samuel Barber and “Tetelestal: A Symphony for Wind Ensemble” by Andrew Boss.

“There’s a lot of times when there’s a lot of negativity in the world,” said Interim Director of Band and Director of Athletic Bands Derek Stoughton. “We see a lot of terrible things going on in the news and stuff, so it’s great to be reminded that there’s still a lot of beauty in this world, and making great music and making great art is a part of that. It’s what makes us human and allows us to tap into our emotional side, so it’s great to have these reminders that there’s a lot of beauty in the world.”




Joseph Lambert attended the concert to support the symphony.

“Believe it or not, my aunt that is retired, she plays with the symphony, and she plays the bassoon,” said Lambert. “Growing up as a child when I used to visit her, she would always rehearse because she’s always played in a band. I’m pretty sure she majored in music from UNO, and this is something for her to do in her retirement so to speak and to better educate herself on music even though she’s played for 40, 50 years.”

Lambert shared how the Southeastern Wind Symphony’s music differed from more familiar music.

“It was very good,” said Lambert. “It was different than what I’ve heard before. Compared to what I’ve heard before, it had a lot more sound to it if that makes any sense. Usually, you’ve got little pieces here and there. It seems like there were more drums and percussions in the background. It was a lot different.”

Music graduate and trumpet player Kiersten Jonkman believes the guidance of the conductor has benefited the symphony.

“Mr. Stoughton is a really great conductor to be able to play under,” said Jonkman. “He’s so passionate and so excited, and he brings so much good energy and so much positive, new energy to the group. I think that we’re really thriving under his direction.”

Senior music major and clarinetist Robert Malbrough discussed why he joined the Southeastern Wind Symphony in his freshman year.

“I did honor bands and things like that and I was in my high school’s wind symphony band, so of course being a music major, the Wind Symphony here was something that I wanted to do and definitely something that I thought would challenge me,” said Malbrough.

Malbrough expressed his thoughts on performing.

“I love performing,” said Malbrough. “It’s something that I strive in and that I love to do. I’m a performance major after all, so it’s something I’m going to school here to do, and it’s something that once I get on that stage and the lights hit and everything, this is my time and it’s time to have fun and really make some good music. I’m excited about it.”

Jonkman joined the wind symphony last year. A form of communication drew her to music.

“It’s so cliché, but music is really special,” said Jonkman. “It can communicate in a different way from just speaking, writing or whatever, so it’s cool to have that shared experience with the people on stage and with the audience.”

Stoughton shared what he enjoyed about the concert.

“I think what I enjoy most about it is seeing the reaction on their faces when things go well,” said Stoughton. “I love all three of these pieces. Each of them holds special value to me individually and so I think my favorite part about this process has been seeing the moments when things are going well, people are smiling and they’re like, ‘Man, this is really great.’”

The Southeastern Wind Symphony’s next concert, “Shades of England,” is scheduled for Nov. 9 at the Columbia and will feature pieces tied to the United Kingdom.

“That will also be a very special concert because we’ll be performing a piece in memoriam of David Maslanka who is a very, very well known and very influential and important composer to the wind symphony medium,” said Stoughton. “He passed away on Aug. 6 of this year, and he’s written such great music for all levels of musicians, and we’re gonna do a piece to honor his memory. That’s gonna be a very, very special and exciting evening along with all of our pieces tied to the country of England, so it’s gonna be a really special night as well.”