The SCSU Symphonic Band and songs of revolution
Alexandra Scicchitano – Special to the Southern News
Craig Hlavac asked the audience in between pieces whether anyone has ever played in a band, causing a lot of hands to raise.
“How many of you have played in a band before?” said Hlavac, the interim associate dean and conductor of the Southern Connecticut State University Symphonic Band.
The Symphonic Band, or SCSU University Band, presented a show called Revolution: Music of American Independence on Thursday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m.
The SCSU University Band is dedicated to providing an intellectually-stimulating, musically-challenging, dynamic and diverse ensemble to the students and faculty of SCSU while concurrently serving the musical needs of the entire Greater-New Haven community. Membership is open to all interested students at SCSU (both undergraduate and graduate), SCSU faculty and staff, as well as to community members who share the group’s desire and dedication to learn and perform at consistently high levels. The group is frequently invited to perform at concerts and festivals throughout the state, stated Southern’s website.
The SCSU University Band has been directed by Hlavac for 11 years, but has been around for longer; as of right now, there are about 40-50 members of the band, with 49 instrumentalists in the show on Thursday.
“I don’t know of any other setting where you’re colleagues with your professors,” Hlavac said.
The SCSU University Band at Southern has “a number of students, in fact, that aren’t music majors,” said Hlavac.
Southern’s Factbook stated that in Spring 2017 there were only 41 music majors at Southern.
Abby Sweet, a senior nursing major, has taken the class eight times and plays the euphonium in the band.
“For me, it’s a getaway from school and all of my nursing stuff.,” said Sweet.
Sweet has been playing instruments since 5th grade. She said she felt very out of place being the only kid in her class that wanted to play the tuba, but once she got the hang of it she took off and has been playing ever since.
“Being surrounded by music all my life, it was fun getting into more,” said Sweet.
Hlavac said that many people come into the course with many experience levels, so the pieces they play have to be inclusive.
“We have very fine players,” said Hlavac, but since they are a smaller band, it is much harder to get the pieces done perfectly because it is usually one person doing one part, so if they are missing, it will not run smoothly.
Sweet said one had to be cancelled this semester because of complications due to scheduling, so they only had one show this semester.
Sweet said that people should join the band because it is fun; it also gives an extra credit.
The band is made up partially of alumni and professors who do not have to be there, but want to be there, said Hlavac.
“People shouldn’t be afraid to check it out,” said Hlavac.
Photo Credit: Alexandra Scicchitano