The Union Symphonic Band performed a joint concert with the South Gibson County High School Band Thursday night after receiving an invitation from the school’s band director.
The concert took place in the South Gibson County gym, where the blue bleachers were filled with proud family and friends. Like any other school gym, the walls were covered in endorsements, advertisements and sports slogans. Unlike most gyms, however, the gym floor was covered with a bright blue tarp, protecting its surface from the huge number of chairs, stands and percussion instruments resting upon it.
This concert was unique because instead of full-band performances, it consisted of chamber groups and ensembles. Small groups of high schoolers played everything from Beethoven to Journey.
Union’s band opened the concert with a song titled “The Redwoods” by Rossano Galante. Then, one after another, 27 groups of high school students, ranging from flute duets to brass quintets performed 27 short songs.
The most touching performance, by far, was by a group of seniors. They played a piece they composed themselves, made up of music from every marching show they participated in during their high school career. The memories the songs held were plain to see, even to an outsider. The students received a standing ovation from the entire gymnasium.
To close out the show, the South Gibson students joined Union’s symphonic band in playing “Celebration and Song” by Robert Sheldon. The high school band outnumbered Union’s band two to one, and the combined power of both bands was staggering.
As both bands milled about after the show, putting away instruments and greeting friends, a woman approached Michael Mann, Union’s director. She shook his hand and thanked him for coming, telling him that she had been a Bulldog “way back when.” She had been a student on the old campus so she and Mann discussed the newest campus addition: the library.
Also during this time, a high school student, who has been accepted to Union this fall, shook hands and introduced himself to his future bandmates.
Many of the Union band members were less than thrilled to have a concert scheduled so soon into the semester, but the positive results of the band’s presence was obvious.
“We’re bringing the love of Christ and the gifts the Lord has given us,” Mann said.