Band kids: the Hindsley Symphonic Band experience


By Vi Aldunate, Contributing Writer

Students flood the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts year-round for its extensive breadth of performances offered, but on Sunday night, the Hindsley Symphonic Band attracted family members and other community members, alongside the University student population. As with many Krannert live shows, the lobby afterwards was enjoyably chaotic, as the musicians laughed among themselves and among the loved ones that had come to support them.

Piccolos, French horns, tubas, percussion, bassoons and more, synchronized to render pieces from twentieth and twenty-first century composers like Gustav Holst’s Second Suite in F and Dwayne Milburn’s American Hymnsong Suite onstage. The moods conveyed by these pieces were diverse, with some compositions assertive and others softer. Grant Winkelmann, junior in LAS and the band’s piccolist, is satisfied by the selection of pieces.

“Hindsley plays challenging music for being a lower band,” Winkelmann said. “I enjoy the music a lot for the most part.”

Rohin Kartik-Narayan, a sophomore in LAS and oboist who has played with the band as long as he’s been a University student, welcomes the Band’s choice to perform relatively modern pieces.

“It was a lot of very different music to what you might expect … our piece from Dwyane Milburn, that one especially has a lot of interesting sounds,” Kartik-Narayan said.

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Kartik-Narayan also played band in high school, and for him, playing with the Hindsley Symphonic Band is largely familiar territory.

“It’s still a bit of a struggle to make sure that … all the confidence I have during rehearsal translates onstage,” he says, but that he’s “pretty used to it,”  He notes that now, “we do more music in each concert than we would in high school,” and “we have less rehearsals, but longer rehearsals, but other than that it’s pretty similar.”

The Milburn composition was conducted by Anthony M. Messina, the band’s chief conductor. On Sunday night, the band was also assistant and guest conducted by Timothy Loman and Stephen Peterson for one piece each, respectively. Compromised of undergraduate University students in association with the University of Illinois Bands Program, the Hindsley Symphonic Band employs both music majors as well as non-majors in its ranks.

Most instrumentalists in the Band are well acquainted with others in music programs at the University, whether academic or extracurricular. Some in the crowd at the Band’s show were students also involved in music at the University, such as Dahlia Davis and Evan Peterson, who are both freshmen in the Marching Illini and were at the show to support their friends in the Hindsley Band.

Davis, a student in LAS, said “we try to go to basically all of them.” Davis and Peterson both have a history with music. Peterson, an Indiana native now at the University to study AHS, recalls that in high school he would attend the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, at the Hilbert Circle Theatre downtown.

Peterson’s familiarity with music also shapes his experience as an audience member. “On the pieces I know or played before, I know what to listen to, so I’m a little bit more critical,” he says. However, the Band’s varied setlist for the Sunday show allowed Peterson a more relaxed listen. “On pieces that I’m unfamiliar with, which on tonight’s concert are a majority, I just try to sit back and take it all in. See what I can find. What my ear wants to gravitate towards. You know, sometimes melody, sometimes harmony, it just depends.”

Nyjah Adams, a senior in LAS and House Manager for Krannert, who was working the night of the Band’s performance, says Krannert employees hear the music playing inside the Foellinger Great Hall through Krannert’s in-house speaker system. As Adams herself played band in high school, she says she does know “a little something-something” about the classical music bands and orchestras that play at Krannert. As part of her responsibilities, Adams sometimes sits in on band shows, “to make sure just in case something does happen, we’re in there.” However, Adams admits she doesn’t listen to symphonic music regularly in her free time. “I have an old soul,” she says. “I like some jazz (and) R&B.”

Winkelmann, who has played piccolo for seven years, but has never previously played in a band before Hindsley, appreciates both the social, as well as instrumental support a large ensemble has to offer.

“The people in my section and in the band are always friendly. … I prefer being in an ensemble because it’s a lot less nerve wracking,” he said. Though Winkelmann notes, “Piccolo is so loud, it’s like playing solo sometimes.”

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