NIU All University Band put on diverse and dramatic concert Tuesday


Tuesday night marked the first concert of the year for the NIU All University Band. Conductor Alexis K. Janners and Adam La Spata promised a unique and different concert than usual. They did not disappoint.

They proved the concert’s difference during the first piece, “The Sinfonians” by J. Clifton Williams, when the male choir lent their loud and proud voices to match up well with the band. This thunderous opening piece featured a strong march-like beat from the percussion and contrasting symphonic sections. “The Sinfonians” had a feeling of an American fanfare and was a great way to start the night.

Next came a song that Janners dedicated to the anniversary of Feb. 14. Originally, Frank Ticheli wrote “An American Elegy” in memory of those who lost their lives and the survivors of the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.

The slow crescendo at the beginning seemed to be a prideful and grand way to remember those lost in both events. The rest of the piece was in a soft, low register, which seemed to cause trouble for the band. Some of the symphonic sections during these soft, low segments seemed to struggle to find the right strength.

The piece slowly rose out of the low register and worked its way into a suspenseful tone. Just when it seems to end, an offstage trumpet solo gave the audience a grand message followed by the theme once more by the whole ensemble.

“Colours,” by Roger Cichy, was a highly imaginative piece before intermission. Each of the six movements to “Colours” attempted to captivate the idea associated with the pigments of the colors. All six followed a different mood ranging from grand and majestic to dark and dysfunctional. This piece was very entertaining and well preformed, especially the jazz-like “Blue Sapphire” movement.

The last piece of the night offered something unique for the All University Band concert. “Of Sailors And Whales,” originally composed by W. Francis McBeth, was another five-movement piece. In between each movement, a passage from Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” was read aloud by Dr. Tim Blickhan.

The narration was an interesting aspect and set the scene for the band to expand on its ideas and feeling. In the final movement, the narration was read while the band played, resulting in a very exciting and suspenseful chase. In this grand way, the All University Band came to a conclusive and well-celebrated end.