Wind ensemble preps for fall concert

Cally Chisolm Staff writer

On Friday, Oct. 19 Missouri Southern’s wind ensemble will host a concert free to students.

The event, set for 7:30 p.m., in Taylor Performing Arts Center, will consist of several pieces.

The performance will include two songs inspired by the Lord of the Rings: “Serenity” by Ola Gjeilo and arranged by Jay Eric Wilson, and “Dionysiaques” by Florent Schmitt.

Rick Espinosa, director of bands and wind ensemble conductor, refers to Schmitt’s piece as a “beast of a piece.”

“The level of music making that we’ve been able to achieve here at Southern has been continually improving,” said Espinosa. “Last year is when we really started to perform band masterworks, which is the toughest stuff out there. It is really exciting to be able to make music from some of the highest levels. 

Travis Turner, senior music performance major, plays the trombone in the wind ensemble and will perform in the upcoming concert. 

Turner said he is most excited for the audience to hear the “Serenity” piece.

“It is a challenge to maintain that delicate sense of tone,” said Turner. “It is one of the more difficult pieces.”

While the band will perform these pieces during the event on campus, it will also perform the selections during a high school tour December 5 and 6 in Tulsa.

Espinosa said the trip is designed to recruit potential students.

“It is only an hour and a half away,” said Espinosa. “They get recruited by Oklahoma State and by OU [University of Oklahoma]. It is time for us to get out and start letting them know we’ve got a band program here.”

Getting into the wind ensemble is not easy, according to Espinosa. The audition process is one not everyone gets through.

He refers to the current group as “the premiere wind ensemble on campus.”

To get into the group, Travis practiced for his audition during the summer. The audition piece was an excerpt of something the group would perform during the semester.

Four years later, Travis is still performing for Southern’s band and will continue to strive for that professional graduate level along with the rest of the ensemble. 

“This being year five of being director of bands, I can say we’ve come a long way since I first arrived here,” said Espinosa.