Wind symphony tour and recording

Audra Kooi —Staff writer

Over spring break, the Dordt University Wind Symphony performed and recorded music for a new album that will be entitled “Patchwork.” The wind symphony tour began with performances in Omaha, Nebraska, then Mitchell, South Dakota, and Sioux City, Iowa.

Several of these were evening concerts in which the complete set of music was performed including prolific selections such as Gustav Holst’s “First Suite in E-flat for Military Band,” as well as a commissioned piece entitled “When I Consider the Heavens,” by Grace Baugher Dunlap. Included in these days were several school assemblies in which performances featured a condensed selection of literature for upper elementary, middle, and high school students. The wind symphony brought their talents to several churches during their tour, and a few small groups played offertories, preludes, and postludes.

Following the initial days of tour, the wind symphony spent three days in Dordt’s BJ Haan Auditorium recording their concert literature. Mark Morette, owner of Mark Records, managed the recording process. Associate Professor of Music Onsby Rose brought in two more directors to provide additional critiques.

“Recording was set up better than two years ago,” junior Lauren Hedman said. “But I’m not sure Dr. Rose did a great job of preparing sophomores and freshman for how mentally exhausting it is.”

Each day, the students arrived to record by 8-9 a.m., and the recording process for a single song could take several hours. Every measure of music was recorded twice at a minimum, and many required upwards of four or five takes. If an individual had a part in the piece, he had to be present for the entire recording, and any noise beyond the hum of the room and the purposeful sound of instruments could ruin the whole take.

Unlike the previous album “Music With Friends,” the music recorded and performed for this album is a combination of old and new. Some of the pieces had been recorded dozens of times by high level ensembles, and others, such as the commissioned piece, had never been brought into the public spotlight.

“I personally liked recording and performing ‘When I Consider the Heavens,’” junior Ricky Rietveld said. “That song is amazing—different than our other pieces—and it sounded so so good; I can’t wait to hear that one.”

But recording an album was not the end of the Wind Symphony’s responsibilities. The ensemble performed in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and throughout Wisconsin before returning to Sioux Center on Tuesday evening.

“I really liked getting to know more of the people in band and watching the audiences’ reactions to the music we played,” freshman Maren Hettinga said.

While being stuck on a bus for hours may not seem enjoyable, it fostered bonding among individuals in the ensemble.

“I always feel like I don’t really know the freshman until tour,” Hedman said. “And then after we’re all buddies.”

Amidst camaraderie, the biggest challenge of both recording and tour was the exhaustion.

“Tour was absolutely exhausting,” Rietveld said. “Between the 45 hours of recording and multiple performances on most of the other days, I’m really wiped out coming back to class.”

In the coming months, producers, sound engineers, and even professor Rose, will pour in time and effort to finalize the music for “Patchwork.” The album will be released next fall.

Photo credit: Jenna Dekkers

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