The Jacobs School of Music will host a concert event featuring the Concert Band, Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble at 8 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Musical Arts Center. The performance will also be streamed on IUMusicLive!
The orchestras will be conducted by visiting professor of music Marcellus Brown, assistant professor of music Tiffany Galus, associate professor of music Jason Nam and associate professor of music Eric Smedley.
Smedley will conduct the Concert Band orchestra in their performance of David Bedford’s “Sun Paints Rainbows on the Vast Waves.”
Familiar with the composition, Smedley conducted the piece 10 years ago when he first arrived at the Jacobs School of Music. Enamored by it the first time he performed it, Smedley said he was drawn to lead the composition again because of its unique and descriptive sound.
“It paints a picture of an ocean and waves in a very textural way,” Smedley said. “The listener can almost hear some of these things happening.”
The chord progression in the piece is what gives it such an intense sound. As the performance goes on, audiences can hear the loud, crashing chords from the full ensemble fading into softer and more colorful chords played by smaller sections of the ensemble — adding to the feeling of the rise and fall of waves.
To achieve this rippling sound, Bedford’s piece utilizes every member of the orchestra, which Smedley enjoyed, finding the communal playing experience to be an important addition to the performance.
“A lot of pieces you kind of rely on soloists from this section and maybe other sections are in a more supportive role,” Smedley said. “But everyone is in on the action here, in terms of rhythmic complexity, solos, melodic elements being passed.”
The performance uses wine bottles in the percussion section to create a controlled, ringing-like sound. Smedley said this proved a minor challenge when conducting, as percussion can either compliment the wind section of an orchestra or stand out on its own. Blending the sound andor bringing both sections out in their own moments was crucial for this piece, and Smedley said it was all about balance.
“That’s always the constant dynamic,” Smedley said. "Sometimes percussion can be the most important, but it’s proper balance.
The Symphonic Band will perform “Dope” by Katahj Copley, and the Wind Ensemble will perform “The Battle of Shiloh” by Charles Lloyd Barnhouse, “And Sings the Tune Without the Words” by Aaron Perrine, “Flying Jewels” by James M. David and “First Light” by David Maslanka.