The PCC concert band and percussion ensemble hosted a fantastic evening of music last week that included a collection of diverse pieces meant to appeal to any audience.
“This is one of the best groups I’ve had, very mature,” said Kyle Luck, PCC’s band director. “We’re playing an eclectic range of pieces with challenging repertoire.”
The 65-member ensemble of woodwinds and brass comprised PCC students as well as members from the community. Students rehearsed twice a week for eight weeks to prepare for the concert.
The percussion ensemble, under the direction of Tad Carpenter, opened the show with the lively tune “Theme from New York, New York.”
Elaine Ngo was performing for her first time as a member of the ensemble and felt a tad nervous but prepared.
“Everyone’s different so we help each other out to become one,” Ngo said. “This is nothing like I’ve ever experienced before.”
Keith Cerrato is the principal trumpet player and was featured in three of the pieces as a soloist.
“[I take] pride and ownership in my solos,” Cerrato said. “It puts you in the hot seat, and even though it’s challenging, people are expecting you to play well because they want to hear something good.”
Jose Ortiz Jr. and Robert Ullrich were also featured trumpet soloists in selected pieces that allowed them to demonstrate their mastery of the music.
“It’s your time to shine,” Ullrich said. “It’s always interesting to hear how we sound the first time we play it and how well we develop over time.”
Alyssa Esparza has been in the concert band for three years and has been the principal flautist for the past two years. She hoped the audience members would enjoy the music the band presented because they have been working very hard to prepare for the concert.
“You may or may not like the people you’re playing with, but you’re creating one sound,” Esparza said.
Some of the selected pieces included selections from “The Symphonic Duke,” “Variations on ‘America,’” and “Crown Imperial.”
Luck selected these pieces because of the variety they offered and to make the most out of the music the band plays. He believes it’s part of his job to broaden the students’ horizons in the music they play because that is what his mentor did and that is an essential part of the educational curriculum.
“We’ve had great rehearsals,” Luck said. “I hope everyone enjoys the music we’ve created and enjoys the variety of works.”
The next free concert is scheduled for April 27 at 6 p.m. in the Jameson amphitheater at PCC.