Performance for CBDNA

During final exam week of winter quarter, 51 Cal Poly student musicians and four Music Department faculty began a three-day trip at the invitation of the Western and Northwestern Divisions of the College Band Directors National Association. The conference was hosted at the University of Puget Sound in the beautiful city of Tacoma, just southwest of Seattle. The schedule included presentations by seven other college wind enembles from across the region.

The tour repertoire included La Mezquita de Córdoba by Julie Giroux, The Persistence of Memory by Joni Greene, Concerto for Percussion by Mutsuhito Ogino, John Astaire, percussion soloist, and Winds of Change by Cal Poly professor Antonio G. Barata.

flying over mountainWednesday was a travel day that included our direct flight from San Luis Obispo to Seattle. We arrived in time to check into the hotel and attend a magnificent performance by the host ensemble, the University of Puget Sound Wind Ensemble, conducted by Gerard Morris. Thursday afternoon was our sound check and performance in Schneebeck Concert Hall.

The Wind Ensemble received the invitation from CBDNA in 2019, but travel was delayed two years by the pandemic. The Wind Ensemble was reconsitituted with the resumption of indoor rehearsals, and the students put forward an amazing effort to represent the Music Department and Cal Poly with a strong performance.

For the faculty and students, the event was hugely anticipated. We saw some alumni in attendance at the concert in Tacoma.

students on the way to a concertFriday was a free day to attend other bands' performances and venture into the city.

Part of Cal Poly Wind Ensemble's mission is to present works by new works and compositions by artists of underrepresented communities. Our program shared three works new to profession. Joni Greene's The Persistence of Memory, conducted by Associate Director of Bands, Nicholas P. Waldron, is a lyrically delicate work for large chamber ensemble of winds and percussion. Dr. Barata's Winds of Change is a fascinating work that explores the possibilities of a limited set of pitches applied accross time and orchestration. Mutsuhito Ogino's Concerto for Percussion gives the featured percussionist (Dr. Astaire) wide latitude to explore improvisatory possibilities and, frankly, provide an exciting show for the audience AND the Wind Ensemble.

Astaire plays drumsPerforming as the percussion soloist was John Astaire. John earned his doctor of music degree in percussion performance from Indiana University. Astaire is originally from California, and obtained his bachelor of arts in music from Cal Poly in 1998. While at Cal Poly he participated in the Wind Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble. His primary teachers included Gerald Carlyss and Kenneth Watson, under whom he also studied the Hungarian cimbalom. Astaire is principal timpanist for the San Luis Obispo Symphony and lectures in music theory and percussion at Cal Poly.

Dr. Waldron conductsOn behalf of the students and faculty of the Cal Poly Bands, we want to express our appreciation to the College of Liberal Arts and Cal Poly Instructionally Related Activities program for their support and to the Cal Poly faculty who provided exam accommodations that made it possible for our students to travel!

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