On Fri. evening, the Saddleback College Wind Ensemble performed to a nearly full house at the McKinney Theater, conducted by Carmen Dominguez, head of the musical theater studies program. The concert offered an upbeat selection of compositions that were as varied in age as the audience and musicians themselves. It was a testament to the fact that music, and the love of it, truly does transcend all ages and backgrounds.
The performance was, for the most part, performed with precision and verve. There were a few rough patches, but they in no significant way diminished the enthusiasm of the players, the warmth of the conductor or the enjoyment of the audience.
The program featured works composed as early as the 18th century to compositions penned as recently as the last decade. For as large of a time span that this encompasses, the program was remarkably seamless and was a perfect immersion for both long time listeners and neophytes of this genre of music.
“Be Glad Then, America,” composed by William Schuman (1910-1992), which incorporates elements of the William Billings composition “Fast Day” (1746-1800), must have certainly served as an inspiration for the great Aaron Copeland (1900-1990). “Esprit de Corps” marks both the pride and the solemninity that is the life of our nations’ veterans.
“Tempered Steel,” as the program remarked, “is a celebration of our triumph over [the] unavoidable hardships and obstacles that we regularly face.” It was a most apropos selection.
Dominquez is certainly a most engaging conductor, and it was enjoyable and educational to hear and see her animation as she provided the audience with anecdotal information and light banter between pieces.
Her love of music and the pride which she has in the ensemble members were palpable. No less evident was the discipline with which she conducts both herself and the musicians under her tutelage.
Even the audience was gently admonished when they inadvertently interrupted the second movement of “Armenian Folk Song and Dance” with an applause.
Quite frankly, it was the least pretentious, most engaging performance of this type.
The only regret was that this was a short program. More pieces would have been much enjoyed.