University Symphonic Band and Wind Ensembles performs “Awakening Bells”

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The University Symphonic Band and Wind Ensembles performed on Feb. 13. Photo courtesy of Sophia Gallegos.

The University Symphonic Band and Wind Ensembles includes a variety of instruments from the piccolo flute to the tuba. As well as string instruments such as the cello, bass and even the harp. 

The performance on Feb. 13 was titled “Awakening Bells” because within each piece was a ‘splash of color’ as director Wesley Broadnax said. The splashes of color within the pieces are the hints of bells; they are brief and sometimes subtle, but add a layer of emotion to the music. 

Wesley Broadnax is a fairly new director at the University of Northern Colorado. In fact, he is in his first year as an associate professor of music and director of bands at UNC. He conducts two major groups which are the Wind Ensemble and the Chamber Winds. Before coming to UNC he had similar arrangements at Drexel University, University of Delaware, California State University-East Bay and Michigan State University. 

The splash of color in the pieces he chose is a part of the “awakening” part of the title. Broadnax mentions how there are always new opportunities in everyone’s lives. The bells are a reminder of the awakening individuals encounter throughout their lives, which are the new opportunities and experiences. 

The fifth piece performed was in honor of Gene Roddenberry’s “Star Trek” (1966-69), which a lot of the audience was familiar with. It’s title was “Vulcan” (2014), which is the name of Mr. Spock’s planet. 

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The last piece was titled “Moon Awakening” hence the “awakening of the bells”. This piece included strings (harp, cello, bass), wind instruments and percussion. It started off softly and then built up to a dramatic piece. This piece featured hints of bells and even the piano through the piece. The bells are there as a subtle yet powerful element to make the audience feel more awake. 

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