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Soulful Sound Spring Concert Served Music For Every Taste

April 30, 2013

Prof. Allen Gardner Jr., Director of Bands, conducts the Soulful Sound Band

Prof. Allen Gardner Jr., Director of Bands, conducts the Soulful Sound Band

The Cheyney University “Soulful Sound” Band Spring Concert on Tuesday night had music for every taste. The program promised wind ensemble, jazz band, show band, dance, color guard, classical, jazz and hip hop and all were delivered magnificently.

Under the instruction of Professor Allen D. Gardner, Jr., Director, the program opened with three wind ensemble pieces – “Crestwood,” “Praises,” and “In Honor of the Fallen,” a composition written by Barry Milner to thank all of those who have given their lives in service to our great country.  The CU Wind Ensemble dedicated the evening’s performance to those who died in recent tragic incidents in Boston, Massachusetts and Newtown, Connecticut as well as to all military and first responders who put their lives on the line in service to others.

“Hymns of Freedom” followed, and featured solos by many of the Band’s musicians.  It was composed by Quincy C. Hilliard and commissioned by Allen D. Gardner, Jr. while he was a high school band director. It was made possible by a 2003 Wolf Trap Foundation Scholarship for Performing Arts Teachers.  

“Swing Low,” a special recognition of the National Band Directors Consortium of all Historically Black Colleges and Universities, was an upbeat rendition of the well-loved spiritual featuring riffs by the saxophone, drums and trombone of the Concert Band and Consortium Participants, Jamal Byrd, Keith Cherry and Alan Beecham III. 

Guest conductor and former Cheyney University Music Director, Dr. George Allen, lead led the audience into “Spring Overture.” Conducted by Dr. Allen, Spring Overture was dedicated to Dr. Allen’s son, David, who passed in March 2013 and “was always in the spring of the year.”  The piece was commissioned this year by the Cheyney University Band program for the spring concert. The program included a note of appreciation from Dr. Allen, which indicated it was his first composition for the concert band. One of the movements of the composition featured freshman tenor saxophonist, Caleb Tacuri.

The entire wind ensemble played bright, toe-tapping performances of “Acclamations,” composed by Ed Huckeby, and “His Honor March,” by Henry Fillmore. The set concluded with “Solfeggieto” by Carl Phillip Emmanuel Bach, a stirring and lovely interlude by pianist Saraniesha Gardner

The baritone saxophone opened the familiar composition, “Oye Como Va” by Tito Puente, followed with a trumpet solo by the multi-talented David Gardner, and was enlivened by the Cheyney University of Pennsylvania Jazz Combo and also featured a brilliant saxophone riff.

The adorable Cheyney University Auxiliary Dancers and Color Guard were accompanied by lively Show Band selections including "Don’t Wake Me Up," “End of Time/Love on Top” and “Starship Party/Rock Anthem Medley” to close the evening on a lively note.