Thursday, Feb. 25, the Symphonic Band will perform their annual February concert in recognition of Black History Month.
Director of Bands and conductor of the Symphonic Band John LaCognata said the concert is an acknowledgment of conversations that need to be had and progress that needs to be made.
“It’s really just an opportunity to musically acknowledge the race issues that we’re dealing with in our country,” LaCognata said. “Music has a way to kind of deal with subjects in a non-threatening way.”
LaCognata said the band has taken safety precautions against COVID-19 by using masks when they’re not playing, limiting their performance time and distancing the audience from the band. Junior music education major Alicia Turnquist plays the flute in Symphonic Band. Turnquist said this performance may be their best one so far.
“We have grown as an ensemble together,” Turnquist said. “I think individually our musicianship has gotten better and we work together more. We’ve had a chance to kind of dive deeper into this music, beyond the surface level of just notes and rhythms.”
LaCognata said each piece has it’s own distinctive sound but collectively they make a great program. He said that this concert shows students that the band is not only making music, but the music has a bigger message. Sophomore psychology major Kelsey Derrick plays the tuba and said music can help listeners feel and relate to all the current events happening.
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“When you’re playing a concert, you don’t really learn about the pieces you’re playing, or the composers,” Derrick said. “For this concert I learned so much about the pieces and the composers. I’ve also never played a piece that tells us a specific story, so that’s really fun.”
With the events surrounding social injustice, Turnquist said this is how the band is trying to show the audience that they’re trying to make a difference and make things better at USD.
“I just hope it’s well received by everyone in the audience and that it sparks some thought,” LaCognata said. “I don’t know that it needs to spark immediate action — it needs to kind of get us all to pause and reflect and kind of question where we are and think about how we can move forward and make it better.”
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Turnquist said that it can be easy to not see what other colleges are doing on campus and she wants people to have a chance to see what they are putting together because of the power behind the music.
“Music can deliver a message without words, without just outwardly telling you what you’re supposed to take away,” Derrick said. “I think people are going to take away a bunch of different things from this concert — I just want them to take away that music can be powerful and can shed a light on modern injustices and problems and stuff that are happening.”
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The concert will be held in Aalfs Auditorium in Slagle Hall on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The performance will also be livestreamed at https://www.usd.edu/music/live.