Wind Ensemble Hosts A Night Of Remembrance

Natalie Dest, Managing Editor

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For their fall showcase, Central Connecticut’s Wind Ensemble concluded their weeks of preparation with a concert full of storytelling compositions to family, friends and faculty of the Department of Music.

Held in Welte Auditorium this past Monday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m., the night consisted of a repertoire worthy of recognition, performed by the many talents that make up the Blue Devils Wind Ensemble.

Unlike concerts performed by the group in the past, this showcase was tied together by a particular theme that held special significance throughout each song performed. With the concert titled “Memoir,” each composition was written in dedication to someone of importance.

Director of the Wind Ensemble, Dr. Robert Schwartz commenced the night with a piece entitled “Downey Overture,” written by Oscar Navarro, a piece dedicated to the Downey Symphony Orchestra.  The song’s grand beginning and enthusiasm held throughout, making the start of this concert one to remember.

“This piece is very reflective of Spanish, Americana music tied together,” Schwartz said later while describing the piece. “It’s a lot of fun with a lot of great moments in there, a piece of a lot of rhythm and color.”

The ensemble performed just that, withholding Navarro’s energy of the piece from beginning to end. Every part of the band was able to bring out each instrumental section proudly, making it an enjoyable piece when welcoming the audience.

However, it was the piece entitled “Memoir,” a third movement of a brass quintet by Suite Parisienne, that truly brought the theme of the showcase to life; remembrance. Composed by student and Wind Ensemble member Gabe Leardi featuring guest trumpeter and faculty member Dan D’Addio, this piece honors the memory of Dr. David Kayser, Band Director of New Britain High School who passed in 2017.

Once a student of Kasyer, Leardi mentions his past experiences with his previous instructor before performing.

“I have never seen anyone get so excited about anything, ever, when it came to music,” Leardi said. “I could go on and on about all the things Dr. Kayser has done for me as his student… I was so happy to [arrange the composition] and perform it here tonight.”

As for D’Addio, this piece is a moment not only to share with the audience but to share with Kayser as well.

“Any time before playing this song with Gabe standing next to me, I can feel Dave is with us” D’Addio said. “In my view, Dave was one of the finest trombone players I have ever met in my life. The only thing he was better at was teaching music, and I’ve learned so much from him about music and about being a teacher.”

Once playing the composition, the emotion was clear from both Leardi and D’Addio, making this piece one to remember after leaving the showcase. With the accompaniment from the rest of the Wind Ensemble, the performance was done justice, receiving heavy applause once over.

Additional guest trumpeter and faculty member Larry Gareau also performed later in the night, featuring on the song “Portrait of a Trumpet,” dedicated to the memory of New Britain native Conrad Gozzo.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if no one in the audience has ever heard his name before, but you all have heard his music before,” Gareau said before performing. “Gozzo was your classic trumpet player, one of high talent and songs worthy of playing.”

The band and Gareau brought to life Gozzo’s talent and warm tone throughout the duration of this 1965 composition, seeming to gain the interest from the audience once the roars of the applause were heard.

Concluding the night, the ensemble performed a piece entitled “First Suite in E-Flat,” referred to in the program as a “stirring finale that creates a thrilling experience for performer and listeners alike.” The Wind Ensemble had no trouble in performing this song to its purpose, giving the concert a strong conclusion.

In only a few short months, Dr. Schwartz and the ensemble were able to create a show of musical recognition and importance. In case you missed this showcase, the Wind Ensemble will be hosting their last concert of the semester on Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Welte Auditorium.