The Shippensburg University concert band took the stage at the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center on Sunday afternoon to perform several pieces under the instruction of band director Trever R. Famulare.
Donned in sleek tuxes and black dresses, the men and women of the concert band filled their seats with instruments in hand before the lights dimmed and Famulare glided onto the stage.
With a wave of his baton, Famulare led the musicians into the opening piece titled, “Celebration Fanfare.” The first song was both upbeat and triumphant and held true to its name as the horns blew loudly and the percussion group banged out a steady beat on the drums.
After the piece concluded, Famulare informed the audience that although the concert band was an “aggressive program,” that did not mean every song they learned and played was fast and intricate. To prove his point, the musicians moved into two pieces that were softer and slower in pace. The first song, “Sheltering Sky,” offered high pitched, drawn out notes to the ears of the audience which was then followed by a more hymnal sounding piece titled “In the Paths of Truth and Grace.”
The audience was then treated to a four-movement piece comprised of Irish dance music and from the performance group Riverdance. The piece featured multiple solos from a soprano saxophone player as well as a rapturing percussion performance tapped out on blue buckets from Lowe’s. As the percussionists hit various complex beats on their makeshift drums, musicians and audience members alike nodded their heads and tapped their feet along with the beat.
After a brief intermission in which the musicians came down to the audience to unite with family members and friends, the performance continued with a piece titled “Prelude, Siciliano, Rondo.” All three movements within the piece were written in short, clear five-part song forms, reflecting composer Malcolm Arnold’s interest in folk songs and dances, according to the program bill.
Next on the set list was a piece titled “Metroplex: Three Postcards from Manhattan” composed by Robert Sheldon. Sheldon’s description of the piece was included in the program bill so the audience could paint a mental picture while the music was played. The description offered scenes of the New York City skyline, the city’s famous nightclubs and wild taxi rides through the heavy traffic of the bustling metropolis.
For the finale of the performance, the concert band tackled its most challenging piece yet in “Windsprints.” The piece is meant to replicate the feelings one might have while running a 100-yard dash. The musicians’ fingers worked tirelessly on their instruments as they played the piece as fast as they possibly could. The musicians’ efforts were rewarded through a lengthy applause and standing ovation from a few audience members.