SPC Symphonic Band performs classical pieces inspired by dance

by: PAMELA GANDY/Entertainment Editor

Music, dance, history, and culture were brought together during an astounding performance by the SPC Symphonic Band.

The SPC Symphonic Band performed a captivating and lively concert at the Helen Devitt Jones Theatre for the Performing Arts on Nov. 12.

The Symphonic Band is conducted by Dr. Gary Hudson, professor of fine arts-music.

The band played six pieces during the concert, including “The Corcoran Cadets March,” by John Phillip Sousa, “Dances of the Renaissance,” by Tielman Susato, “Tres Danzas de Mexico,” by William Rhoads, “Sandpaper Ballet,” by Leroy Anderson, “Havendance,” by David Holsinger, and “Galop” by Dmitri Shostakovich.

All of the pieces were very unique and varied in style. They each featured different instrument groups and had different tempos. The variety helped to keep the audience engaged and really highlighted the different strengths of the band.

“The theme for the concert was music inspired by dance,” said Dr. Hudson. “Each work represents a different time period and style of dance.”

Symp Concert 2
The SPC Symphonic Band performs music arrangements under the direction of Dr. Gary Hudson on Nov. 12 in the Helen Devitt Jones Theatre for the Performing Arts. SARA MARSHALL/PLAINSMAN PRESS

Some of the selected pieces reflected the dance styles of older time periods, as early as the beginning of written music.

“Marches, like those of Sousa, use the form of dance music from the 1800’s,” said Hudson. “Susato’s piece represents examples of the first time that musicians wrote out music to be danced to in the 1500’s. The “Tres Danzas” are based on folk dance tunes from various regions of Mexico.”

The performance also included pieces that were inspired by more modern types of dance and theater.

“‘Sandpaper Ballet’ evokes a soft-shoe style of dancing, popular in the early 20th century vaudeville shows. Holsinger’s “Havendance” was inspired by his then 9-year old daughter, Haven, and her playful dancing through the house. A gallop is a fast, furious dance. This particular one comes from a Russian musical comedy.”

The show was very entertaining, and well received by the audience. Hudson did an excellent job in selecting a variety of compositions that featured musical styles of not just different dances and time periods, but also of different cultures. The assortment of the music also allowed for different instrument groups, and elements of the band to be showcased. Their sound and energy was very good, and the group also did a great job in really capturing the different sounds and ambiance of each of the pieces, allowing each song to stand out.

“The band meets twice a week for an hour and 15 minutes for rehearsal,” said Dr. Hudson. “We do quite a bit of work on learning not just the rhythm and sound of the pieces, but also on understanding the meaning behind the piece and how that should influence the sound.”

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