Benicia High School Wind Ensemble Never Fails to Captivate Its Audience

BY: ALLISON CHURCH

Filled with a wide variety of compelling pieces, Benicia High School’s wind ensemble concert on March 4th kept the audience on their toes the whole night. The ensemble started off with a piece called “Liturgical Dances” composed by David R. Holsinger. The piece displayed an upbeat, unpredictable, and dark sound, which was a fitting choice to grab the audience’s attention from the start. Conductor Patrick Martin explained after it finished that the piece is considered “standard repertoire in the band world. It’s one of those pieces that everybody knows, especially at the collegiate level. It’s quite challenging.” Martin introduced the ensemble’s next piece titled “Fantasia (on “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair),” and described it as a “very beautiful composition based on the familiar tune of “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair.” They dove right into the majestic piece, and immediately set a more fantastical feel to the room. The concert’s final piece before intermission was titled “Day Dreams” by Dana Wilson. Mr.Martin introduced the piece by describing the intended mood; animals and people waking up to the world and slowly building in movement and in sound throughout their day. 

The ensemble opened the second half of their concert with “Ninth Symphony ” by James Barnes. It was a piece that was at times gentle and soft, and at other times rhythmic like marching soldiers. By far the greatest highlight of the concert was getting to see Bassoon player Krishna Mandal conduct the piece he composed by himself called “Windsor Road.” Martin introduced the musician by stating the obvious: “He has a bright future ahead in music composition.” It was arguably the most compelling piece of the night, and was a prime example of the creative talent Benicia High School students have to offer to the world. 

Before they closed off the night, Mr. Martin announced the band’s upcoming tour to New York in a couple of weeks: “To prepare for their march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, they will be working extra hard. Color guard is also competing in a winter guard show in New York. Letterline will be debuting our brand new letters.” When introducing their final piece titled “Danzas Cubanas” composed by Robert Sheldon, Mr. Martin stated, “when I first heard this piece, I had to get it; and then when we started working on it I said ‘there is no way I’m going to conduct this, it’s just hokey.’ There’s no drum set part but I made Elijah Burkin play the drum set anyway.” The piece started off with a booming drum solo. The piece swung in an upbeat snappy rhythm that was perfect for dancing. They projected more loudly than usual across the room, making the sounds bounce off the walls. Featuring sounds that resembled a crowded urban city, it was certainly the most thrilling piece of the night. A calm flute solo served as a transition to a smoother, more flowy tune. They kept the spirit of the piece alive throughout, and finished off the night leaving an impact. Whether you have or haven’t come to see the band’s performances yet in the PAB, it will be well worth your time to come support the talented creatives in our school.

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