Conservatory Of Music Channels The Holidays In A Winds Ensemble 

The Conservatory of Music's wind ensemble captivated its audience on Nov. 23./@bcmusic.nyc via Instagram

 

By Samia Afsar

 

   The holidays are an exceptionally exciting time for members of Brooklyn College’s Conservatory of Music, with numerous ensemble performances throughout the months of November and December. One of this season’s first concerts was held on Wednesday, Nov. 23 to highlight the Conservatory Winds Ensemble with adjunct lecturer and winds ensemble director, Thomas Oberle, as its conductor.

   Held at the Claire Tow Theater for the first time this semester, patrons happily packed much of the empty seats, eagerly awaiting the ensemble’s performances. And after a welcome address by Oberle, followed by a brief introduction of the ensemble’s first piece given by one of the Conservatory’s members, the performers kicked off the event with their recital of “American Faces” composed by David R. Holsinger.

   Being a quite fun and upbeat piece, “American Faces” was intended to display and celebrate America’s pioneering spirit, honoring the array of faces that make up the United States. Although beautifully executed by the ensemble, I couldn’t help but find similarities between Holsinger’s composition and the opening credits to “The Simpsons.” Perhaps, Holsinger’s quirky mode of instrumental storytelling is to blame, but even so, it served as an excellent introduction to the night’s event. 

   The ensemble’s performance of “Prayer of St. Gregory” composed by Alan Hovhaness followed immediately after, spotlighting Conservatory member Ryan Martin on the trumpet. With the percussion section generating sounds mimicking a hammer to a nail paired with the overall medieval tone of the piece, “Prayer of St. Gregory” was a confusing transition from “American Faces,” but nevertheless one that radiated much passion and love. Oberle oftentimes walked around the stage exchanging smiles and pats on the backs for the ensemble members. 

   A selection from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” was performed next and was an eminent directorial choice to recite following Halloween. Immediately after, the ensemble broke for a 15-minute intermission where Conservatory members eagerly yet patiently walked off stage to hug and greet their families and loved ones. 

    Following the intermission, Oberle lightheartedly joked about conducting an ensemble where the intermission is longer than the concert itself before thanking again the patrons for attending and being there to support the Conservatory of Music. 

   The winds ensemble later performed “First Suite in E-Flat Major” composed by Gustav Holst, where the instrument players were truly able to capture the listener’s attention. Collectively, they invited and encouraged their audience to listen to the story as it unfolded with each rise and fall in its melody.

   “Bugler’s Holiday” composed by Leroy Anderson followed immediately after and was primarily performed by Aziza Cazaubon, Alex Colasanti, and Ryan Martin on the trumpet. As an extremely upbeat and joyous melody, the ensemble’s performance of “Bugler’s Holiday” was one that shifted the theater’s overall mood from post-school and work tiredness to a room filled with big happy hugs and tender smiles. 

   As the event came to a close, the ensemble’s last performance consisted of music from the 2004 Disney movie, “The Incredibles,” and being a family favorite, this specific performance truly entrapped the entire theater with audience members longing for more. 

   After one final bow, Oberle wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving, thanked patrons one final time for attending, and urged audience members to attend the winds ensemble’s next concert which will be held in the spring. 

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