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Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

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Symphonic Band Ensemble ends the semester with a festive concert program

Symphonic+Band+after+their+last+performance+of+the+night.
Jacqueline Carrillo/The Collegian
Symphonic Band after their last performance of the night.

In a dimly lit concert hall, the audience filled with family and friends taking their seats, eager to see their loved ones doing what they love.

Band members were dressed in all black and walked in a single file line to take their seats. With instruments in hand and anxious smiles on their faces, audience members waved and shouted in excitement.

The intimate concert hall burst with harmonies as the band warmed up and got ready for their performance.

Families, friends and musicians gathered Dec. 5 for the Fresno State Symphonic Band concert in the Fresno State Concert Hall.

The concert consisted of six pieces from Italian-inspired marching music to “Silent Night,” and over 10 solos from different musicians in the band.

Alec Rodriguez after the last performance, looking at the crowd. (Jacqueline Carrillo/The Collegian)

“They put in so much work,” said Alec Rodriguez, Fresno State alumni and graduate assistant conductor for the Fresno State Symphonic Band. “There’s a lot of rehearsal every week. Outside of rehearsal, too, they practice. So putting in a lot of time and effort and having people come and support them and listen to live music is super important to them and to us.”

From tender, rich pieces to upbeat, quirky pieces, the band did not fail to serenade the audience with enriching music from all over the world.

The band was conducted by Rodriguez and Steve McKeithen. McKeithen is the associate director of bands and associate professor of music. He directs the Bulldog Marching Band, Symphonic Band and the Bulldog Basketball Band, while also teaching music education courses.

“There’s a lot of amazing people. Whether it’s the concert bands or the marching bands, all the bands just have a fantastic selection of people,” said Remy Cottrell, bass saxophone player for the Fresno State Symphonic Band. “It’s open to everybody, music major or not. It’s all about the people. There’s no game without the players, you know?”

Different instruments stretched from all sides of the room: a triangle, trombones, French horns, saxophones, flutes, clarinets, and tubas. Some of the band members were music education majors, some were performance majors and some were undeclared.

Band director Steven McKeithen during the performance of “Havana Nights” by Randall Standridge. (Jacqueline Carrillo/The Collegian)

At the end of the performance, Rodriguez and McKeithen stood in front of the band and showed their gratitude and appreciation for the musicians as they were met with a standing ovation from the audience.

“It’s all about giving everybody a good experience, whether it’s our families and friends or people coming in here for the first time to listen to us,” Cottrell said “It’s all about providing a great experience for everybody. It means a lot to us that our families care that we care about this.”

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