The East Carolina University School of Music (SoM) will hold a concert for both the symphonic and concert bands of ECU from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 24 in Wright Auditorium.
Director of the ECU concert band Jay Juchniewicz has been a part of ECU faculty for 14 years and has been the director of the concert band for 13 years. Juchniewicz said he is excited for the concert because both bands have been hard at work in preparation.
Juchniewicz also teaches in the musical education department at ECU and is the graduate program director for SoM. He said the concert band is open to anyone who wants to play, they just ask those who wish to participate have previous experience in a band. Juchniewicz said the band currently has 47 members, beingwhich are non-music majors.
“The idea is that you can major in anything but then in the afternoons you’re able to come and keep playing your instrument and keep making music in a stress-free, non-competitive environment,” Juchiewicz said.
Juchniewicz said there are three bands in the school of music, which are the concert band, the wind ensemble and the symphonic band. He said both the symphonic band and the wind ensemble have required auditions and are typically made up of music majors. The concert band plans to have three pieces of music for the concert on Feb. 24.
The first piece for the concert band, Juchniewicz said, is a song that was originally made for an orchestra to play titled “The Limpid Stream” and is by Dimitri Shostakovich. He said the second piece, “The Willow Tree,” arranged by Micahel Sweeney, is Irish themed. The third piece is a faster paced Irish jig titled “Kirkpatrick's Muse,” and was composed by Jay Bocook.
Director of the symphonic band and athletic bands Director Joe Busuito has been at ECU for two years. As the athletic bands director, he is also the director for the Marching Pirates and the Pep band. Busuito said he encourages ECU students to join regardless of their major due to the band being able to open opportunities for those who join.
“We want the very best players populating these ensembles,” Busuito said. “They're not just artistic ensembles that operate here but there are musical ambassadors and representatives for the school of music and the university.”
Busuito said the symphonic band currently has 31 students in it. He said while students are required to audition in order to join, there are a lot of open spots to fill so he wants to encourage anyone and everyone to participate.
The symphonic band has prepared four pieces for the concert on Feb. 24 and will perform after the concert band. Busuito said that this program is more personal than he typically likes to plan. The pieces all tie into his time as a teacher at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, and the school shooting that took place there on Nov. 30, 2021.
“It was something that hit me profoundly, it was a place that I knew and people that I knew,'' Busuito said. “It's not just the tragedy of the loss of life but it’s the effect that this has on everyone else who was in the building and it’s something that has bothered me a lot.”
Busuito said the first piece is titled “Illumination” and is a triumphant piece because it’s uplifting and bright. He said the piece was supposed to represent a normal day versus the second piece, “As The World Watched,” which is more so representative of the tragedy that took place. The piece was written in 2019 by Quincy Hillard and is supposed to represent the human response to violence.
The third piece is titled “Down A Country Lane.” Busuito said this piece is for a time of reflection. Lastly, they will play “An Infinite Hope,” and Busuito said this piece is perfect as a finale because it shows that regardless of what society goes through, they can always remain hopeful and get through whatever setbacks they face.
“I wanted to make sure we got through the program in such a way that it allows us to navigate through a whole variety of different perspectives and responses to violence in general and that’s what this program does,'' Busuito said.
Freshman music education major Alison Graham said she is glad she’s in the symphonic band and that it has been a great experience thus far. Graham currently plays the trumpet for the symphonic band and participated in band during high school as well.
Graham is also a member of the Marching Pirates as a trumpet player. Graham said she chose to audition for the symphonic band because it meant she could dive deeper into her major and her love for music.
“A big reason I want to do as much as possible is because my senior year of high school everything was canceled so it’s cool to be able to do it all over again,'' Graham said.
Graham said she enjoys being a member of both the symphonic band and Marching Pirates because she is constantly surrounded by people who share as deep of a love for music as she does. She said those who love music should audition because it gives an opportunity to meet new peers on campus and try something new.
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