The Reprisal: Wind Symphony and Community Band Return to Form after a Long Hiatus

The Southern Utah University Wind Symphony and Cedar City Community Band performed for the first time in eight months to a large audience on Friday, Nov. 6. Their concert was entitled “City Trees,” and comprised pieces of music that shared themes with Michael Markowsky’s “City Trees.”  Neither group has performed since February, and have faced limited time and opportunities for rehearsal since re-forming at the beginning of the semester. 

“These guys have only been able to rehearse once a week, and only for the last eight weeks,” Steve Shirts, the community band instructor, said during the concert. 

The Cedar City Community Band performed four pieces and the Wind Symphony performed five pieces at the show. The community band’s repertoire focused on Gustav Hoist’s robust, four-movement piece, “Second Suite  in F,” while Wind Symphony director Adam Lambert pushed the endurance of his group’s woodwinds with long clarinet runs in Valcav Nelhybel’s “Trittico.”  They played for an audience that appeared to fill at least half of the nearly 1,000 seats in the Heritage Center Theater. Lambert said he was glad to finally be allowed to perform for the public. 

Between the two bands’ performances, there was a brief intermission for the wind symphony   musicians to hustle and rearrange the stage to accommodate for their larger size.  

The students performing in the wind symphony were excited to play for any audience after such a hiatus. Saxophonist Justin Jaramillo said this was the longest period of time he’s gone without performing since he started playing music as a child. 

“It’s super refreshing,” he said. “All things considered, I think things came together really well.”

SUU’s music groups have not been graced with the same ensemble rehearsals as they had before the COVID-19 pandemic, so they’ve been forced to rehearse alone or in their sections within the group most of the time. 

“We’ve only been able to rehearse as a whole group a small handful of times,” Jaramillo said. “Other times, we’ve had to pick and choose who gets to come. It was liberating to be able to play together again.”

Both groups had only been able to rehearse since the beginning of the semester, but even with the limiting conditions, they performed confidently and meticulously. The entire concert, including some pre-performance rehearsal, is available on YouTube

“We’re really excited to be able to perform within COVID-19 guidelines,” Lambert said. 

Visible precautions included a contact-tracing form and a QR code linked to the concert program. 

Shirts invited the public to join the Cedar City Community Band at the end of their portion of the concert. They are an audition-free group open to the public. Their sessions run eight to 10 weeks. Shirts said that those interested must register by Jan. 15. 

“The SUU Wind Symphony is an audition ensemble open to all students, not just music majors,” Lambert said. Wind symphony auditions are open the first two days of each semester.

Story By: Janzen Jorgensen

Photos by: Mitchell Quartz