Upcoming SIUE Bands concert aims to deliver an emotional experience

After months of preparation, the University Concert Band and the SIUE Wind Symphony are prepared to deliver a musical performance titled “Visual Inspirations.”


The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m on Wednesday, Oct. 19 . in the Dunham Hall Theater. 


Rubén Gómez, director of the SIUE Wind Symphony, said that this concert’s theme will be visual inspirations that have allowed composers to draw from. 


“We always put the program together around a theme because I think it's a very useful tool to engage the audience and also to have a connection between the students and the music,” Gómez said. 


John Korak, director of the Concert Band, said he has taken a looser interpretation of the theme. 


Korak said one of the pieces that the University Concert Band will perform was written to commemorate Judy Houdeshel, a music teacher who dedicated her life and career to the creative endeavors of her students. 


“She had a dynamic energy and a glow about her,” Korak said. “She just loved music and though it's not visible, sometimes we can sense or see in a different sense.” 


Gómez said he started planning this concert during the summer and the students have been practicing since August. 


“We rehearse three times a week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, for five hours a week,” Gómez said. “We usually spend eight weeks of the semester preparing the concert and we do some sectionals, meaning that each group of instrument work separated to polish some materials.” 


Gómez said the Wind Symphony is made up of 38 members, many of those who are either majoring or minoring in music. 


“The students usually have to present an audition to be a part of the Wind Symphony, then they receive the music and they have hours and hours of individual preparation in the practice rooms with their professors,” Gómez said. 


Korak said there are 45 members in the concert band. 


“I'm very excited about the group this year. It's a very talented ensemble. And I think the students will do a remarkable job in presenting this music,” Korak said. 


Korak said the Concert Band rehearses on Mondays and Wednesdays for a total of three hours a week. 


“Regardless of where we are in the process, I try to encourage the students to play with musical intention,” Korak said. “I'll try to give them images or at least descriptive words that match up to passages in the music.”


Korak said his goal is to create a performance that the audience members and students can become emotionally invested in. 


“If we do it right, we start to create these images, whether they're visual images, or even just images inside our head and it makes the performance something that is special for all of us and myself included,” Korak said. 


Korak said that playing music goes beyond pitches and rhythms, and is about creating an experience that affects people. 


“Pitches and rhythms, in and of themselves, don't really do that, that's something that a machine can do and it can be mindless,” Korak said. “But if we do it with our souls, our heart, our spirit, then it becomes a very special performance and that's what we work towards.”


Korak said everyone who attends the concert will find it to be special. 


“For anybody that comes, I think they're going to find that they’re going to be affected by the music and they'll be able to see, hear, feel and sense the investment the students are making in playing their instruments,” Korak said. 


For more information, you can visit the Department of Music’s website

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