Symphonic Wind Ensemble heads to Seattle

BY HEATHER MORSE | Evergreen reporter

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Next week, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble of WSU will perform at Benaroya Hall in Seattle as part of the Gershwin Gala.

The Gala will take place May 15 at 7:30 p.m.

The concert will feature various selections of the music of George Gershwin, including “Strike Up the Band” and “Catfish Row,” said Danh Pham, the director of the ensemble.

Gershwin was one of the great American composers and bridged the gap between jazz and classical music, said Gerald Berthiaume, a music professor at WSU.

This concert is possible because Pham received an Edward R. Meyer Project Award from the College of Arts and Sciences, Berthiaume said.

Berthiaume said Benaroya Hall is the most prestigious venue the ensemble could perform at in Washington,

“We’ve wanted to do this for so many years,” he said.

The ensemble gave a preview of part of the concert in Bryan Hall last month.

“It was very inspirational to be able to perform and to look forward to performing again,” said Meredith Heinzmann, a senior majoring in music education.

The Symphonic Wind Ensemble will leave for the Gershwin Gala on May 14, and will stop for a performance at Issaquah High School on the way. The ensemble will also give a musical lecture at Garfield High School, Pham said.

The Boeing Corporation provided the ensemble with a grant for community outreach at both of the high schools.

“This is sort of a community enrichment,” Heinzmann said.

Pham said he loves his students and has enjoyed every rehearsal he has with them.

“Each member of this 53 person ensemble represents all that is great about WSU,” Pham said.

Some of the WSU music faculty will also perform with the students in the ensemble.

Gregory Yasinitsky, the director of the School of Music, will perform a saxophone solo of a new composition he wrote.

His composition, titled “I Love Gershwin,” is a medley of Gershwin love songs that originally played it with the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene Symphonies, Yasinitsky said.

The concert will also feature clarinet and vocal soloists and the concert will close with a performance of the WSU fight song.

“That’s going to be a little surprise for the audience,” Berthiaume said.

Pham said he enjoys every part of preparing for the concert.

“I’m looking forward to celebrating that last note on stage as it represents a yearlong effort towards success,” Pham said.