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Concert Band closes fall semester with ‘revolutionary’ performance

Published on December 14, 2022

Concert Band closes fall semester with ‘revolutionary’ performance

The Eastern Connecticut State University Concert Band’s winter performance on Dec. 7 opened with composer Omar Thomas’s “A Mother of a Revolution!” a piece that inspired the title of the entire program. “Revolution” concluded an event-filled semester of live performance for the Music Program, and marked the return of local community musicians to the Concert Band since the onset of the pandemic.

Kelly Watkins, band director

“A Mother of a Revolution!” was inspired by the bravery of transgender women and commemorates the Stonewall uprising of 1969. Though it sounded martial and menacing at the beginning, the piece took on a disco feel in its second half to celebrate club culture, a sacred space for members of the LGBTQ community.

Besides Thomas’s work, the program featured a wide variety of exciting material by contemporary composers Jeremy Leidhecker, David Maslanka and Erik Morales.

Band director Kelly Watkins, lecturer of music, addressed the crowd, which was larger than it has been in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Raise your hand if you’ve never been to a performance at Eastern,” said Watkins. She welcomed the many new audience members, as well as the community members who were able to rejoin the band for the first time since the pandemic.

The program shifted in a somber direction with “Dear Stephanie” by Leidhecker. This piece is an airy, heartfelt tribute to the life and memory of Stephanie Read, the late daughter of a colleague of Leidhecker’s. As the piece progressed, its key changed and it became more uplifting before fading like wind.

Next in the program was “On This Bright Morning” by Maslanka. Watkins praised Maslanka’s compositional style, saying that he was “able to pour every piece of vulnerability and passion he had onto pieces of paper.” The piece is meant to acknowledge difficulties of times of transition and their accompanying feelings of pain and loss while acknowledging the joy to be found in life.

The program ended in seasonal, festive fashion. “We can’t have a concert in December without doing some sort of holiday thing,” said Watkins. The band’s final selection was Morales’s “We Wish You a Mambo Christmas,” a fiery arrangement of holiday tunes featuring authentic Latin grooves and instruments found in Latin percussion ensembles.

Written by Noel Teter

Categories: Music, Arts