Categorized | Art & Life

Meramec Symphonic Band plays sounds of the season

Posted on 05 December 2017 by admin

Annual winter concert features original music by Meramec professor


By: Tania Robin
Staff Writer



Photos by Amanda Harris

Photos by Amanda Harris

The Meramec Symphonic Band took to the stage on Sunday, Dec. 3, performing for a full audience. The ensemble was composed of both students and community members. In addition to conducting, Meramec music professor Garry Gackstatter also wrote many of the pieces performed in the show.

The first few pieces were performed by individual ensembles in order to demonstrate the unique musical properties of each group. The first song, performed by the brass choir, was “Commemorative Fanfare” by John Cheetham. Despite the crowd, once the music began the glow of cell phones went dark, and voices of the audience silenced.

Brass instruments dominated the next few pieces with performances by both the horn and trumpet choirs. The woodwind choir performed next, including a clarinet solo by first chair Robert Baumann, who has been with the Meramec band for the last 40 years. Gackstatter, who wrote the piece performed by the woodwind choir, said Baumann joined the band after high school.

“He can play anything I give him,” said Gackstatter. “I really wanted to do something fun for him and show off his skills as a musician. I created a piece just for him.”

Last of the individual ensembles was the flute choir performing a holiday themed piece called “Santa’s Symphony” by Ricky Lombardo. The final notes of each piece were met with thunderous applause.

aaBandConcert-17Last to perform was the Meramec Symphonic band, which consisted of over 75 musicians. Of their six pieces, the audience was most captivated by the fifth, a Gackstatter original called “Path of Totality” inspired by the recent total solar eclipse. After the concert, Gackstatter had only positive things to say about his performers.

“We had five rehearsals total in preparation for the concert since the last concert in November; that speaks very well of the entire band.” said Gackstatter. “I am extremely proud of all the excellent musicians who performed today. These musicians genuinely care about the music, and they work so well together to create that special unique feeling through their music.”

Meramec’s annual holiday concert will take place on Dec. 10 at 3 p.m. in Meramec’s theater, featuring the Meramec Orchestra and choirs. The concert is free and open to the public. Gackstatter expressed excitement for the event and said he hopes for a similar sized crowd.

“Music is a spiritual experience,” said Gackstatter. “When you put everyone’s spirit together, you can call it soul or heart. Music can’t be played from the neck up, music has to come from the heart.”

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