Seats in the Falany Performing Arts filled as people gathered for a night of musical performance. The Reinhardt University Wind Ensemble performed their first concert of the school year, on Tuesday night Oct. 3. This concert not only kicked off the ensemble’s preforming season, but it served as the conducting debut of Reinhardt’s new Director of Instrumental Activities, Dr. Daniel Kirk.
With enthusiastic cheers and applause from the audience, students took the stage to begin their program entitled, “Celebrating Centennials.” The program was meant to honor the 100-year anniversary of President John F. Kennedy and musical genius Leonard Bernstein. Dr. Kirk began the performance with a bang as a crash of cymbals signaled the first song “A Festival Prelude” composed by Alfred Reed. After a lively opening, the second piece, “Tears of St. Lawrence” by Aaron Perrine, was played and then followed by a Bernstein piece titled “Suite from Mass.” Before the piece was played, Dr. Kirk provided words of thanks to the audience for their support, and then stated how the concert was dedicated to the legacies and musical influence of JFK and Bernstein. Before the piece was played, a video recapping the life of Bernstein was played to give backstory into his life and influence. This third piece featured a brass quintet that included Dr. John Bryant, Yvonne Toll, Peter Riggs, Mark McConnell, and Dr. Paul Dickinson. Each piece was followed by vigorous applause and a swift change in performers.
After a brief intermission, the ensemble returned, and began their tribute to President Kennedy. The lights dimmed as the band began to play “Fanfare for the Inauguration of JFK.” A slideshow full of pictures from Kennedy’s life played on a screen behind the band as they played the fanfare and “Elegy for Young American.” A similar effect was used during the performance of “A Bernstein Tribute,” where photos of Bernstein conducting and moments from his musicals
West Side Story and On the Town. When asked his opinion of the performance, Reinhardt Freshman Nicholas Gwin commented, “Bernstein is by far one of my biggest musical influences. It makes me happy to see others enjoying his genius too.” Audience members were able to fully experience the legacy of both JFK and Bernstein in a powerful display both visually and musically.
Once the last note sounded, the audience erupted into applause, as Dr. Kirk and the performing students bowed to their well-deserved standing ovation.
Written By: Nataleigh Long
Pictures by: Nataleigh Long