Winona State University is alive with the sounds of music as the orchestra and band ensembles play back-to-back concerts over the weekend


Joseph Eichele

Both the Winona State University Orchestra and Band programs held concerts at Vivian Fusillo Main Stage Theatre on Feb. 25-26 respectivly. Dr. Cullan Lucas led the orchestra ensemble, shown above, while Dr. Melanie Brooks orchestrated the band.

Erich Schweitzer, News Reporter

The performance started with little to no introduction, with musicians at the ready with their instruments for when the conductor so much as lifts a finger. For the next half hour, the Vivian Fusillo Main Stage Theatre was filled with the euphonic sound of strings and brass.

Hands worked diligently at the strings, as if under the command of a spell being cast as the conductor waved and flicked their wand to guide the intensity of the music.

During the weekend of Feb. 25-26, Winona State University’s music department held two concerts for their orchestra and band ensembles. The orchestra played their concert on Saturday with the band’s concert occurring the following day. These concerts were part of the curriculum for the orchestra and band classes. Both events were free to students and the public, as is the case with most performances that Winona State’s music department puts on.

The orchestra concert consisted of five songs, concluding with a piece from Disney’s “Fantasia” called “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”.

It was a piece that Dr. Cullan Lucas, the conductor of Winona State’s orchestra ensemble, claimed to have watched “over and over again” when he was a child.

Directing the bands ensemble was Dr. Melanie Brooks, who is currently in her fifth year of teaching at Winona State as an assistant professor of music. Before the event, she expressed her own expectations for the concert.

“I think we’re really ready,” Brooks said.

While it is easy nowadays to just open Spotify and listen to any kind of music, Brooks talked about the beauty of hearing music performed live on stage rather than through speakers.

Brooks said, “because of the humanity of live performance, there’s going to be moments that are going to be out of this world and way more exciting than you can get just listening to a great recording, and maybe some moments that are a little weird.”

For Brooks, both the good moments and small imperfections of live music are what makes it great to listen to.

Aside from the free entertainment, attending these concerts could be a good way for students with friends in the music department to support their classmates.

Brooks stated that “there’s something about going in and seeing actual people, especially your classmates, giving it their all and playing with a lot of emotion and feeling.”

It could also serve to just expose students to new things that they may not have known that they would like.

Brooks concluded by encouraging students to check out the performances that the music department puts on. She even encouraged students to think about joining, as both ensembles are a mix of people who are and are not majoring in music.

Winona State’s music department plans to put on more events such as this, with more concerts coming up in March and April. For more information about when and where these concerts are happening, people can check out the music department’s event calendar on Winona State University’s website.