Wind Ensemble to perform ‘Of Sailors and Whales’

­By Tammy Schrader
Staff Writer

The Wind Ensemble will perform Francis McBeth’s “Of Sailors and Whales,” a musical representation of Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 13, in the R.R. Hodges Chapel/

The five movements of this piece will be directed by Dr. John Packard and will include student-led narrations. Members of the ensemble also will be making any props that will enhance the performance.

“There are so many creative people in this ensemble with great ideas and I want to encourage them to come up with props, videos or whatever else they create,” Packard said.

“Visuals are a plus, but when we play this piece, the story and its emotions come across loud and clear,” said saxophonist Allison DeSimone.

Anyone unfamiliar with wind ensembles will be pleased to know that in theory this is a concert band, just smaller.

“There are no try-outs for the orchestra. You only audition for chair position,” Packard said. “I want everyone to know that they are welcome to be a part of the music department.”

The music majors practice according to their need, and the other members practice as much as possible. “I practice an hour a day,” said first chair clarinetist Sam Wolfe. “The most challenging part of this concert is making sure we get everything together and everyone is prepared.”

“I realize that time is limited for those who are not music majors. I just ask them to practice as much as possible and ask for help when it’s needed,” Packard said.

“I like the emotional side of making music,” Packard said. “There is an adrenaline rush that takes over my body as I listen to the piece coming together during a performance. Sometimes it is hard to talk between pieces because I am choked up.”

Trombonist Michael Weaver agrees that there is an emotional side to performing.

“For me, because I don’t play the melody, I reflect on the amount of work I put into the piece,” Weaver said. “That’s my blood, sweat and tears that people are hearing.”

Every semester new faces join the music department, which is a challenge, considering that the ensemble will get a mere seven practices in before performing this intricate piece of music.

“There is a great core group that leads the ensemble,” Packard said. “I have two very dedicated assistants in Michael and Allison. The section leaders are key to our success.”

The Jazz Band and the Flute Choir will also be performing during this concert. It is free to the public, and everyone is encouraged to attend and enjoy.

“Come,” DeSimone concluded. “You will be moved.”