The Tyler Junior College Wind Ensemble joined with the UT-Tyler Wind Ensemble on March 6 at the Cowan Center for a memorable joint concert.
For the very first time, TJC and UT held a concert together in which both bands united and performed as one.
“Dr. Emge and I, over the last couple of years, have thought about it [joint concert],”said TJC Band Director, Thomas Mensch. “Dr. Emge brought it up, so I guess you can give him the credit,” added Mensch.
Inside the Vaughn Auditorium, fellow students, family and friends quickly found their seats while the UT-Tyler wind ensemble warmed up on stage. UT Band Director Jeffrey Emge stepped away from the podium and welcomed the audience to a special event that showcased many talented musicians.
As TJC’s wind ensemble took the stage to perform first, each musician took their time tuning his or her instruments to the unique sound set by the oboe. With a formal step to the podium, all eyes looked up to Mensch and waited for a signal to start. With a twist of the wrist and a nod by Mensch, TJC’s wind ensemble performed the tune of “Blue Lake Overture,” “Irish Tune from County Derry,” “Barnum and Bailey’s Favorites,” and “Courtly Airs and Dances.”
“We rehearsed for our performance for a couple weeks into the semester,” said Mensch. “I think we [TJC] performed very well. It was the first time we performed on that stage, which is different than the Wise Auditorium. It was exciting to perform on a great stage acoustically,” said Mensch.
Next up on stage was the UT-Tyler wind ensemble. After tuning his musicians, Dr. Emge stepped up on stage, raised his arms and signaled a strong drum roll to start of the tune of “Don “Ricardo.” The UT-Tyler ensemble followed with performing the tunes of “Cajun Folk Songs II,” “Dance Variations,” and “Suite Provencale.” At the end of their performance, the two ensembles scrambled about the stage gathering music stands and chairs for their joint performance.
As everyone settled into their seats, Dr. Emge stepped up on stage, tuned his new group of musicians, and lifted his arms to start this monumental performance.
The combined ensembles performed “Symphony No. 5-IV. Allegro non Troppo.” The united ensemble played strong and vibrantly and created one complete sound – one ensemble.
“We only rehearsed for about 30 minutes on the joint ensemble,” said Mensch. “I think that it came out very well.”
The musicians also enjoyed the experience.
“It was amazing,” said Jasmine Freeman, who plays clarinet for the TJC wind ensemble. “We had been waiting for it a long time. It was different. We really like the fact of playing at the Cowan Center, at a university.”
So is this the start of a tradition for the TJC wind ensemble?
“We’re discussing that possibility for one [next year],” said Mensch. “[Possibly] branching out to other ensembles as well.”