Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Symphonic Band is more than just a class


“As far as instrumentation goes, I am a percussionist, so I play multiple things,” said Marquis Hollingsworth, a freshman majoring in business, and a member of Symphonic Band class. “It benefits me as I learn more technical and musical things about being a percussionist and what/how to do things in a professional band environment.”

However, Symphonic Band is more than just a class. Musicians have explained that it is a commitment to a hard-earned talent that continually has its challenges. Students must be prepared for every meeting of the ensemble in order for the group to continue to progress, and they must have a personal accountability for how they prepare and perform.

“Every day in Symphonic Band is test day: we have to know our own parts before walking into class so that we can learn everyone else’s parts as we rehearse,” said Heidi Risher, a sophomore majoring in public relations. “Then we are each able to determine the proper dynamics, articulations, etc. we should use to compliment the overall sound of the band. My participation allows me to concentrate on my growth as a musician, which has been a significant part of my life over the past 
several years.”

Being part of the Symphonic Band is also a stress-relief for some students. Coming into class during the week and performing music as an ensemble makes for a useful stress-reliever for everyone involved, from director all the way around the ensemble.

“I love being in symphonic band,” said Destiny Martin, a senior majoring in human development and family studies. “I’ve been in Symphonic Band every semester I’ve been here and it’s been such a wonderful experience. I can’t imagine not being in Symphonic Band. School gets to be very stressful, and it’s nice to be able to come to Symphonic Band and play my clarinet and relax from the stresses of the day.”

The Symphonic Band performed a concert last Monday, Oct. 3, where they played several selections of music, including Philip Sparke’s “Exultation” and Martin Ellerby’s “Paris Sketches Homages for Band.” According to the University Bands website, the Symphonic Band’s next performance will be on Monday, Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Many members of the Symphonic Band are also in the Million Dollar Band, though they do not always play the same instrument in the MDB as they do for class. Risher is a flutist in the Symphonic Band, but plays piccolo in the MDB. Hollingsworth plays many different percussion instruments inside for Symphonic Band, whereas he specifically plays the snare drum outside. Martin plays the clarinet for the Symphonic Band, but reverses her role as she is one of the four drum majors that lead the MDB. Additionally, the conductor of the Symphonic Band is also the associate director of the Million Dollar Band.

“Mr. Coleman is at every MDB rehearsal and symphonic band rehearsal, just like me,” Risher said. “It is beneficial to have a conductor who understands both ensembles. While my music in symphonic band does not have to be memorized like the music in MDB, I have to know it just as much, if not more. Both symphonic band and MDB require me to take extra time out of my day to learn my parts. I am expected to stay organized as I tackle my involvement in the Million Dollar Band, symphonic band, and all of my academic classes.”

Being in both the Million Dollar Band and the Symphonic Band can take up a lot of time, and it is a high investment in music as a whole. But for the musicians involved, it is worth it in the end. Being in both ensembles has its benefits 
for Martin.

“Marching band does overlap into Symphonic Band in that many of the people in Symphonic Band are in the marching band,” Martin said. “With there being so many people in the marching band it’s very hard to meet everyone. Being in Symphonic Band gives me another opportunity to meet some of the members of the 
marching band.”

At the end of the day, these students know that hard work will always pay off in many aspects, either in their performance level, or the sense of accomplishment they receive from making music together as an ensemble. The Symphonic Band is truly a team effort, and all of the sections come together to give their music a unique sound.

“As a public relations student, my involvement in symphonic band allows me to step away from my books and study material and focus on a very particular type of class,” Risher said. “While my future career will not be in music, I couldn’t see myself not being in these fantastic ensembles during my time at The University of Alabama.”

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