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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

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University bands perform at first concert of the semester

Dr.+Timothy+Rhea+conducts+the+Wind+Symphony+as+the+Director+of+Bands.+He+also+serves+as+the+Head+of+Music+Activities+at+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+overseeing+the+jazz+ensembles%2C+orchestras+and+choral+programs.
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

Dr. Timothy Rhea conducts the Wind Symphony as the Director of Bands. He also serves as the Head of Music Activities at Texas A&M overseeing the jazz ensembles, orchestras and choral programs.

Around 1000 people attended the first University Band concerts of the semester on Oct. 7. The Symphonic Band and the Wind Ensemble performed at 3 p.m., and Symphonic Winds and Concert Band performed at 6:30 p.m. in Rudder Theatre.
Director of Bands Timothy Rhea, Ph.D., conducts the Wind Symphony, and this is his 26 year at Texas A&M. He conducted “Symphony No. 2 III. Allegro con brio” by Howard Hanson at his first concert, and has gotten the chance to see the band program grow over the years.
“It took this band a lot less time to learn it and they played it at a much higher level,” Rhea said. “I expect us to play at the most top level that we can. Along the way if you shoot for perfection, you attain excellence.”
Wind symphony practices three times a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays through scheduled class time.
“I’ve learned what a release [band] is for these students, since this is such an academically challenging place,” Rhea said. “I think it gives them a break, and it lets them connect emotionally with music and with each other and with the human experience.”
Associate Director of Bands Russell Tipton conducts the Symphonic Band and the Concert Band. He chose “Song for Lyndsay” by Andrew Boyson Jr. because the day of the concert was his wedding anniversary and his wife’s name is Lindsey.
“What we try to do is pick a whole year’s worth of literature [during the summer],” Tipton said. “I try to pick a standard march or overture to start the concert, and then something slow [and] lyrical, and then something more contemporary, so it reaches as much of your audience as you possibly can.”
Unlike some other colleges, Texas A&M does not have a music major or provide scholarships for participating in band.
“It says a lot about the students that are in [band]: that they love music so much that they’ve chosen to do it purely because they want to do it, not because they get any sort of financial gain,” Tipton said. “The fact that they come in [with] no major, no scholarship, and are willing to invest in it outside of engineering or animal science, it revitalizes why I got into [teaching music] in the first place.”
Public health freshman Amy Tseng plays clarinet in the Wind Symphony. She was in band through middle school and high school, and said that performing in the Wind Symphony is taken more seriously.
“In middle school and high school, people have to practice in class, and that was annoying,” Tseng said. “Here, since everybody already knows their parts, they don’t need to practice beforehand, so [rehearsal goes] a lot smoother and faster.”
Tseng’s favorite piece to play was “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks” by Richard Strauss because she had an interesting part with a lot of quickly moving notes.
“I feel like the learning pace is fast, [but] the music is not that hard,” Tseng said. “[In the future] I want to beat those upperclassmen and be first part.”
The next University Band concerts will occur on Nov. 18 at 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. in Rudder Theatre.

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  • The University Bands October 7 concert featured hymns such as “Alleluia! Laudamus Te by Alfred Reed as well as more contemporary pieces including “Bayou Breakdown” by Brant Karrick.

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