After two years of odd performances due to the pandemic, the ACU Bands performed their first full concert Saturday.
The two performing bands were the Wind Ensemble and Concert Band. Concert Band started off the concert with four pieces of music and Wind Ensemble finished the concert with five pieces of music.
Dr. Brandon Houghtalen is the director of the concert band and has been on a part of the ACU faculty for 8 years. Dr. Houghtalen chose Katahj Copley’s Halcyon Hearts (2021) for it’s uplifting nature as Concert Band’s opening piece. Another piece picked for being uplifting was the closer, Frank Ticheli’s Joy Revisited (2005).
“Katahj Copley recently moved to Texas and his piece is an energetic, uplifting concert opener,” Dr. Houghtalen said. “Joy Revisited is another uplifting, (obviously) joyous piece. It represents a return to in-person music.”
Despite the concert lacking an overall theme, both bands premiered a piece of music. The Concert Band performed Catherine Likhuta’s Planet B (2021) for it’s Texas premier. While Wind Ensemble played the premier performance of Abilene composer Bernard Scherr’s The Long Goodbye (2022).
“The pieces were chosen for many reasons,” Dr. Steven Ward, the director of Wind Ensemble and music department professor, said. “It is a great variety of music, of composers, and combination of newer, in some cases brand new, and older music.”
An important role for a conductor is to pick the repertoire for every concert. They have to make sure the music goes together as well as pick music suited for their musicians. This repertoire for this concert was especially important since the bands have not performed a full concert in a few years.
“Programming is one of the most difficult yet rewarding aspects of being a conductor,” Dr. Houghtalen said. “I chose music that will be interesting to the musicians and to the audience.”
Usually the Wind Ensemble uses this annual concert as a kickoff for their tour but this hasn’t been possible recently because of the pandemic. However, this year Wind Ensemble performed at Wylie High School on Monday and Abilene High School on Tuesday.
The ACU Bands concert was at the held at the Abilene Convention Center making the concert more available to the people of Abilene instead of just ACU students, promoting community.
“Music always benefits the performers and the audience,” Dr. Ward said. “And no better time than now.”