Emma Bennett—Staff Writer
Though COVID-19 caused the cancellation of numerous on-campus events over the past two years, Dordt University’s wind symphony has played on. This semester, Onsby Rose, conductor of the wind symphony, released an album containing some of his musicians’ best work: Music with Friends.
The album, originally intended to release last spring, was inevitably delayed due to the pandemic. Its recording took place in the B.J. Haan this March after eight weeks of rehearsal time. The recording sessions sometimes lasted from 8:00 a.m. to well after midnight. The music’s sections were played at least three times to ensure perfection, and then analyzed and mixed over the summer by Rose and one of the nation’s best classical wind band recording engineers.
“Of the raw recording, we probably have somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 hours of music,” Rose said about the 55-minute album. “[The process] was long, grueling, but fun.”
The tracks from Music with Friends are not confined to a specific genre, but are all modern. They are described in the album’s pamphlet as “bearing an overall upbeat and hopeful message to the listener.” The composers on the album are all connected to Dordt in some way through academia or friendship, earning the album its name.
When asked to describe the type of music present, Rose summed it up in one word: contemporary.
“Everything on the album is very tonal, harmonic and enjoyable to listen to.” Rose said. “It just happens to be new music,”
The album’s cover art was designed by Devyn Driesen, a senior digital marketing major. She created “like 20 drafts” before finding a suitable piece.
“When I gave it to the [print company], they were convinced that a faculty member did it.” Rose said. “She did an exceptional job with the piece.”
In addition to releasing an album, the wind symphony entered the American Prize Competition for the Performing Arts over the summer and placed second in University Wind Band division. The judgment process spanned the course of a few months, where each contestant submitted a minimum of 20 minutes of music to a peer review group.
“I found out an hour and a half before rehearsal about two or three weeks ago,” Rose said, “It was so hard to keep it under wraps until I got to rehearsal.”
The wind symphony’s placement enables the group to place the American Prize seal on concert programs for the year. This boosts the repertoire of the band and also the pride and motivation of its members.