A Symphony at Studley: Music Department Hosts Symphonic Band Concert

Evans conducts his performers in concert. Photo by Jeannette LaPointe.

Playing before a full house at the college’s Julien J. Studley Theatre, the SUNY New Paltz Symphonic Band performed this past Tuesday, Nov. 15. Associate professor Dr. Joel Evans directed the performance, which was  part of a series of concerts to come in the following month, he said.

As a director, Evans gave off a carefree vibe to his audience. He explained how much power and choice he gives to the students in his band. Evans was proud of his performers, he said.

“They could play without me if they wanted to!” he laughed.

Evans plans his shows a semester ahead of time, he said. His set lists are a mix of what he and his students want to play. For this performance, guests heard numbers by composers James Barnes, Michael Kamen, Ralph Vaughn Williams and Robert W. Smith.

The wind band featured around 9-10 sections of different instruments, creating a magnificent wall of sound. While it was mostly full of students, the band did enlist the help of music department community members and Ulster County music educators. One prominent guest performer was Professor Vic Izzo from SUNY Ulster. Izzo played the trombone throughout the entire show and proceeded to take the helm of conducting from Evans for James Barnes’ intimate piece “Poetic Intermezzo.”

“Alvamar Overture,” another number from Barnes, proved to be a highlight of the evening. With a powerful performance from the whole band and a strident tempo, this song threw the concert into full effect. The band performed the last half of the song again at the end of the show, giving the concert and the experience a solid bookend.

Concert goer Jack Wilson, a choir singer, loved the performance. His favorite piece was “Suite from Band of Brothers” by the late Michael Kamen.

“I came in support of my friends in the band, but also for my love of music,” he said.

Evans’ personal favorite from the set? The professor loves Ralph Vaughn Williams’ “Folk Song Suite,” a number that covers themes like coming-of-age and the beauty of England, he said.

Evans already has next semester planned for the symphonic band, he said. The Department of Music and the School of Fine and Performing Arts will host more concerts in coming the month, including a Student Jazz Ensemble with concerts at Studley on Nov. 28-30.

For more information about upcoming shows and music department events, music lovers can check out newpaltz.edu/music.