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Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Winds sound a note

Woodwinds punctuated the silence and trombones added a sinister note as the music built to a crescendo in a rousing finish to a debaucherous melody.

“I imagine it to be a couple of women who will add to the debauchery in ways other than wine,” said maestro Stephen Piazza.

In one of the final concerts at the Performing Arts Building (PAB), the Los Angeles Pierce Symphonic Winds played to a sold out crowd.

The Symphonic Winds is a community orchestra comprised of students, professionals and community members.

Anyone who plays well and is willing to take the Monday night class is invited to come and try out for the group, according to Piazza.

“It’s a multidimensional group,” said Allan Gilbert, a clarinet player. “It’s not just something where we rehearse, play a concert, and that’s it.”

Stephen Piazza transformed the theater, with stadium seating, into a private performance hall with his personal grace and charm as he gave a small speech before beginning each piece.

“I think it’s more personal than program notes,” said Piazza. “I believe in breaking down the wall between performer and audience.”

Orchestral music resounded from the walls as the 102 member ensemble finished their Bacchlavian piece described as a tribute the greek god, Bacchus, the god of debauchery.

Mike Armstrong, who has been playing with the orchestra for the past seven years, conducted a solo performance with accents by the orchestra.

“It’s always a lot of fun,” said Armstrong. “On the trips we get to hang out and get to know each other.”

The Symphonic Winds was first created in the spring of 1983 as an evening class.

“An operation this big calls for a lot people with a lot of talents,” said Piazza.

Piazza also teaches several music and voice classes during the day.

“The numbers in the daytime choir have gone up tremendously, and I think it’s because of that show,” said Piazza, as he referred to the television show ‘Glee.’

Sunday’s performance was the last Symphonic Winds showing at the PAB until the new theater is finished. Until that day, plans have been made to perform at the new Valley Performing Arts Center at CSUN.

Next up for the Symphonic Winds is the Pierce College graduation ceremony and the Sunset Dinner Serenade on June 12. Then they will fly to Europe to perform in Paris and Luxemborg before returning to play a Fourth of July concert in the Warner Center.

“Music is about getting together with other people and creating music on the spot,” said David McKeever, a professional composer and Euphonium player from Ohio who now plays with the Symphonic Winds.

 

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