At 6 p.m. on Sept. 25, the BJU Symphonic Wind Band will hold its annual outdoor concert at the Activity Center instead of the gazebo. “We have done an alumni band concert there, but not many concerts other than that,” said Dr. Bruce Cox, director of bands.
He chose the location to accommodate physical distancing for the players and the audience. Additionally, because the band cannot use Stratton Hall in case of inclement weather, the Activity Center is a suitable alternative. The concert will be webcast.
Although the band members will maintain physical distancing, they will be seated closer than they are in rehearsals so they can hear each other in the outdoor setting.
See Also: Fall Concert Schedule
The band will face the Printing Division and the Academy so that the audience can see the athletic fields in the background as they sit on the grass, in lawn chairs or on bleachers. “It should be nice,” said Cox. Only students, faculty and staff will be allowed to attend because of COVID-19 protocols, but BJU will webcast the concert for everyone to enjoy.
Concert Sneak Peek
The wind band concert will center on the theme “For the Beauty of the Earth.” Said Cox: “I chose the theme … to celebrate being at an outdoor concert again after all these months.” In addition to a fantasia on the hymn by the same title, Cox chose a variety of pieces that would fit loosely into the theme and be suitable for the outdoor setting.
Cox loves each of the pieces the band will play, but one of his favorites is “Caccia.” “I first heard it conducted and prepared by the composer himself for the South Carolina All-State Band concert,” he said. “I was a rookie teacher at our Academy, and I was just in awe of this composer and conductor and his teaching. It is extremely rhythmic and is heavy on percussion.”
Cox also thinks the audience will enjoy “Yosemite Autumn,” which is based on the different weather moods at Yosemite National Park. The composer recently wrote this piece after visiting and observing the park.
The band will play a transcription of the overture from Poet and Peasant by Romantic composer Franz von Suppé, as well. “It is the kind of great music that used to be used in children’s cartoons,” Cox said. In the 1930s, “Mickey Mouse” films featured the overture in “The Barnyard Concert” short, and Popeye the Sailor also conducted it under the name “Spinach Overture.”
But Cox wants the audience to enjoy more than just the music. “Honestly, the thing that the audience should think about as they listen is the resilience of these students in preparing this program,” he said. “We’re in an unusual time to rehearse with distancing, masks and a different location than normal. We are all thankful to be able to play live music again, but it has had its challenges, and I think so highly of our students. They are wonderful young adults.”