Storm of Sounds: Thunderous applause brings Music for a Rainy Day to its conclusion

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Storm of Sounds: Thunderous applause brings Music for a Rainy Day to its conclusion

Joe Perea and the SRJC's Syphonic Band delight the aaudience with their Music for a Rainy Day.

Joe Perea and the SRJC's Syphonic Band delight the aaudience with their Music for a Rainy Day.

Joe Perea and the SRJC's Syphonic Band delight the aaudience with their Music for a Rainy Day.

Joe Perea and the SRJC's Syphonic Band delight the aaudience with their Music for a Rainy Day.

Keshia Knight, A&E Editor

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The audience may not have gotten wet, but the sound of pouring rain drops roared through Burbank Auditorium Oct. 20 as the SRJC Music Department presented Music for a Rainy Day, an evening of performances by the Maria Carillo High School Band and SRJC’s Symphonic Band.

Under the direction of Joe Perea, the 40-member ensemble performed five pieces ranging from soft, dramatic and sombering numbers to a fast tempo, circus-like march. While only one piece of music actually represented a rainy day, each piece chosen by Perea had some sort of title that dealt with the theme of the night.

Opening the performance with a piece titled “Whirlwinds” by Richard Saucedo, the Symphonic band’s talented percussion section steadied the crazy tempoed fanfare. The Saucedo arrangement was a perfect opening number as each piece increased in difficulty.
The soft humbling entrance of the woodwinds to begin the next piece, “After a Gentle Rain” composed by Anthony Iannoccone, featured a near flawless flute section with a strong and steady clarinet accompaniment. The different instrumental sections slowly built momentum until it became a full melodic wonder. However, at the end of the piece the notes seemed too long for the woodwinds to hold until the conductor dropped his hands. It seemed the musicians could have used better phrasing, or at least scattered phrasing among the sections to sustain the note.

The third and fourth pieces of the performance were the band’s most provoking and memorable. The “Hymn for the Lost and Living” by Eric Ewazen is an instrumental account of Ewazen’s experience in New York following the tragedies of Sept. 11.  With a single brass solo to open, the piece crescendoed from soft, light harmonies to powerful, dramatic melodies. The piece evoked every single emotion the composer meant the audience to feel.

Eric Whitacre originally composed “Cloudburst” as a choral piece, but the instrumental adaptation the band performed was nothing short of amazing. Small vocal sections were strewn between the full band and the masterful solos by oboist Tess Woodbury and Jimmy Decicio on bass clarinet. Perea told the audience before the piece began that it needed a bit of crowd participation, though no one expected the snapping of fingers to become the highlight of the piece.

If you closed your eyes as the crowd of 50 snapped their fingers it sounded like rain falling from the sky. As the snaps sped up and slowed down at the audiences’ own discretion, the cloud actually seemed to burst into a full-fleged rainstorm.

The band’s performance ended with a March titled “Rolling Thunder” by Henry Fillmore. Though the piece seemed extremely short, fast-paced trills of each section once again showcased the remarkable talent of the SRJC musicians.

Music for a Rainy Day had very little to do with a rain, but the SRJC Symphonic band is comprised of so many brilliant musicians that it did not matter what they played. With only a limited amount of performances a semester, it would be a shame to miss out on seeing this band perform in the future.

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