Merry Melodies from the Music Department


Paul Tointigh

The concert band prepares for one of their weekly practices leading up to their concert this weekend.

Paul Tointigh, Contributing Writer

As the trimester comes to a close, USAO’s concert band and choir will be putting on their fall concerts this month. The concerts are held separately with the concert band performing November 18th at 7:30 pm in the Te Ata Auditorium, and the choir concert November 20th at 2 pm in the Alumni Chapel. Each class has been working on their concerts, with practices every week. With both concerts rapidly approaching emotions are running high.

“I’m both excited and nervous about the upcoming band concert,” said Jaden Johnston, a sophomore music education major. “I’ve been working very hard and have made a lot of new friends this semester, so I’m excited to share this experience with them.”

Kaleb Banda, USAO’s band director, expressed his excitement for this trimester’s show as well. He said that the themes for this concert are festivity, joy, and happiness. Benda, who is in his fourth year as band director, has pushed the band to embrace more challenging pieces so they can grow as musicians. He explained that music is rated on a difficulty level from one being on the easier side to six being very difficult. Benda said that when he first arrived at USAO the band was playing around a two or a three, but now the band is at a grade level five.

“The USAO Concert Band is chock-full of absolutely amazing musicians,” said Tyler Sweeden, freshman music education major. “We currently have five pieces of music, all of which are near the peak of my current playing capabilities, but I am elated for the chance to play them in our concert.”

The pieces that the band will perform are “Joy Revisited” by Frank Ticheli, “Festity” by James Curnow, and “Symphonic Dance Number 3” by Clifton Williams, and “Divertimento For Band” by Vincent Persichetti.

After the band’s concert mark the choir’s performance date on your calendars too. Dr. Jan Hanson and her students have prepared all trimester for the upcoming choir concert.

“The students are so well prepared for the concert,” Hanson said. “They are so kind and hardworking. It’s nice to see how kind they are to each other. Both groups are ready, and I think they peaked at the right time. The music is challenging enough for getting back into the routine of things.”

Hanson, who is in her 35th year of teaching at USAO, recalls the Covid-19 pandemic and how that affected concert performances.

“We have had a lot of adjustments and had to be flexible during Covid,” Hanson said. “I find myself readjusting to the schedule of post-Covid and getting back into that routine. We have been a lot more relaxed lately and have been getting the flow back in-person. Having a live concert once again engages people in a way that an online concert couldn’t have done. I just hope that we can have a good audience, and have a lot of people that can come and enjoy it safely.”

The two choir groups that will be performing are the concert group and the chamber ensemble. The concert group will be performing Christmas songs as well as pieces from all across times and genres. The chamber ensemble will be singing Christmas carols, as well as foreign language pieces which will all be sung in an acapella style.

Paul Tointigh is a third-year Communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.