Exploring ‘Scapes’ with Concert Band – The Equinox

todayNovember 13, 2023 4

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Keene State’s Concert Band toured the “Scapes” of North America at the first concert of the 2023-2024 academic school year.

The program for Thursday’s concert showcased music from a variety of landscapes such as deserts, mountains, cityscapes and sounds of narrow escapes and showcased music by North American composers.

“This concert features music strictly by North American composers, and all major countries within North America are covered. We’ve got a Mexican composer, we’ve got American composers and we’ve got Canadian composers as well. So we’re representing all of North America, which I don’t think I’ve ever done,” said Director John Hart.

Hart added, “Our community members are an integral part to the Concert Band’s DNA, our identity, the interactions that you get between them and the students are particularly important because they bring an element of experience and worldliness that students can’t bring.”

Having a band full of members both young and old, he said, makes the group perform better and creates a strong learning environment.

“The students bring an element of youth and liveliness and that passion and drive for learning, growing and improving that the community members really enjoy as well,” Hart said. “So it’s a really unique dynamic within the group.” The concert not only showcased the work of students but also the skills of faculty at Keene State College.

“I’m really excited for everyone to see this piece called ‘Quiet City.’ It’s an Aaron Copland piece that’s been arranged for wind ensemble,” junior Peter Labonte said. “Our professor of oboe, Jim Shamrock, and a professor of trumpet, Seelan Manickam, are going to be playing the solo parts for those pieces. I’m really excited for it because it’s an opportunity for the professors here to showcase their skill.”

Concert Band has a focus on performing music by MexicanAmerican or Mexican composers, underrepresented populations such as BIPOC composers and people from the LGBTQ+ community.

“We’re doing classic to classic movie themes [Jurassic Parkand Raiders March from Indiana Jones], but we’re also doing a piece that is from Mexican culture called ‘Kauyumari,’ said senior Alice Browne. “And then we also have a piece that is just very sort of beautiful, it’s called ‘Echoes on the Northern Lake,’ and it’s just like the trumpet and they paint the sound of frogs through their playing.”

Beyond showcasing music from underrepresented groups, Concert Band tries to perform new music that was composed recently or was composed for the Keene State Concert Band itself.

First-year Sarah Stagg attended the performance and said, “This exceeded my expectations for their first recital of the year and they should be really proud of themselves. It’s extraordinary playing from all the musicians and extraordinary conducting from both Dr. Hart and Joseph Reppucci.”

“My favorite song was the second one, ‘Echoes of a Northern Lake,’” said first-year Lucas Parhiala. “There was a section that was just the flutes and it was a series of harmonies that appears in a lot of her different compositions and it’s something that I always love when listening to her music.”

Concert Band will be performing two more times this school year, once in February and once in April.

Amanda Rotigliano can be contacted at

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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