The FMU concert band, featuring FMU students and Florence community members, performed their winter concert titled Visions of Lights at the FMU Performing Arts Center (PAC).
The concert band director, Kelly Jokish who is a part-time professor of music at FMU, said she decided that the winter concert would involve themes of hope and light to contrast to the darker performance that the concert band had for the fall Halloween show.
The performance took place on Feb. 9 and incorporated two solo artists. The first soloist, saxophone player Coleman Wright, is a junior at West Florence High School. The second was trumpet player Spencer Nance.
Jokisch explained that she keeps a running list of suggestions received from members of the concert band and some that jumped out at her for this concert were “The Light Eternal,” “Heaven’s Light” and “Into the Light.”
“We share ownership in the group and plan the program together,” Jokisch said. “This allows the members to feel more invested in the performance.”
Caitlin Romaniello is a junior music industry major who participated in the performance.
“My favorite piece that we performed was the ‘Light Eternal’ because the song told a story based on true historical events in World War II,” Romaniello said.
During the concert, Jokisch said that a student whose fellow bandmate died in a house fire wrote the song “Heaven’s Light.” Jokisch said the student wrote the song to show that people can heal from tragedy.
According to Romaniello, the song “Light Eternal” takes the listener on a journey through the emotions felt by the people on a ship that sunk during World War II.
The Visions of Lights performance featured other songs such as “Spirals of Light,” “Illuminations,” “Colorburst,” “Concert March” and “Over the Rainbow.”
The concert band added pieces featuring color to the performance to appeal to the audience.
“’Over the Rainbow’ was the crowd pleaser,” Jokisch said.
Jokisch said that she incorporated music that would be recognizable and reachable to a wider audience. She wanted the average person to enjoy the concert.
“I want to make the arts accessible to the normal concert goer or novice and to keep them coming back,” Jokisch said.
With the incorporation of both familiar and unfamiliar music, the concert was a success to Jokisch and her band members. Jokisch emphasized how well the pieces fit together and that each piece had lush and thick melodies.
“While I was standing conducting, I was thinking, ‘wow, what a beautiful sound,’” Jokisch said.
“The experience was amazing as usual,” Romaniello said. “The concert band is full of passionate, hardworking individuals, and I am proud to be a part of it.”
A light show played in the background during the performance.
Alex Melton, light supervisor at the PAC, put together the background lights that accompanied the music after listening to samples of the music provided by Jokisch. The lights changed frequently throughout the performance and during song changes. The most notable color lighting occurred during the “Over the Rainbow” performance. The background lighting was arranged like a rainbow.
“It was neat to collaborate and fun to work together,” Jokisch said.
Jokisch is looking to continue academic collaboration in the future. In the past she arranged a solar system themed concert, combining music and science. Jokisch is currently working on preparing a concert incorporating history.
Later this spring, the FMU concert band will perform a spring concert called British Invasion on April 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the PAC. This concert will include a closing piece of music by the Beatles.
The concert band accepts new band members continuously. Members may be any major but need ensemble experience. Any students interested in joining the concert band can contact Jokisch at kjokisch@ fmarion.edu.