Dubuque colleges harmonize at Great River Symphony

The Great River Wind Symphony performed at University of Dubuque’s Heritage Center, on Saturday, Feb. 26.

The band of over 100 performers was made up of students from Loras, Clarke and the University of Dubuque. The conductors from each of the respective schools were Dr. Glenn Pohland from Loras, Prof. David Resnick from Clarke, and Dr. Nicholas Bratcher from UD.

“We’re just so delighted to host this event and bring all the students together,” said Dr. Charles Barland, who introduced the event.

The musical festivities began with a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, conducted by Bratcher.

The next piece that was performed, “His Honor,” was a march written by Henry Fillmore for Cincinnati mayor, Russel Wilson, in 1933. First performed at the Cincinnati Zoo, its jaunty whimsy reflects Filmore’s own love of life.

“It literally gave me goosebumps,” said Loras sophomore Adrienne Pearson, about the next song, “Appalachian Air.” “I really admire the athleticism and intensity of the performers and conductors.” Composed by Nathan Daughtrey, “Appalachian Air,” is based on an old Irish folk tune, “The Poor Wayfaring Stranger.” Loras’ own Dr. Glenn Pohland conducted the piece, which was both powerful and haunting. It changed rather abruptly near the end, with joyful bells, as an optimistic contrast to the sorrow earlier in the work.

“Other orchestras have about 200 years on us, so we have a bit of a problem with repertoire,” said Bratcher, as he was introducing the next piece, “Journey to the Lion’s Castle.” Other orchestras often have a repertoire based on classic works that are hundreds of years old, but this piece was composed by Rossano Gallante in 2008 and 2009. The work felt cinematic and inspiring.

The next piece was a Celtic medley, beginning and ending with high energy movements. The central part was slow and plaintive, with a piccolo solo by Hannah Jansen. It was composed by Tomohiro Tatebe and conducted by Resnick.

Loras student Roman Weinberg came out wearing a cubs jersey and sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” with the audience to introduce the next piece. Composed by Jack Stamp, the piece was called “Pastime” and used themes from the song“Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

Dr. Bratcher introduced the next piece, “Hymn for Emanuel,” as a tone poem commemorating the victims of the shooting in Charleston this past summer. This concert was its midwestern premier, the first time it has been played in this time zone. It was composed by James Syler, who was an undergraduate professor of Bratcher. Nine students came forward and read the names of the victims at the end of the piece.

The final piece, conducted by Resnick, was a medley from the musical, “Fiddler on the Roof.” “Fiddler on the Roof” was the first Broadway show to exceed 3,000 performances and was the 16th-longest running show in history.

“This was an awesome experience, having all three of the bands together and making something beautiful,” said Pohland.

The next Loras band concert is the ironically titled “Midwinter Concert”, which will take place on Saturday, March 12.

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