SBCC Concert Band transports audiences in last show of spring

The Channels Art Pages | STAFF REVIEW


Nate Stephenson

The Santa Barbara City College Concert Band and conductor Eric Heidner play Favorites from 2003-2018 on Sunday, May 5, 2019, at the Garvin Thertre at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. The band consisted of 99 musicians including Heidner.

Elizabeth Saubestre, Staff Writer

City College’s concert band invited its audience on a lively blast to the past at its last performance of the semester Sunday, with Godzilla making a brief appearance.

99 performers took to the stage to perform songs that the band had previously performed throughout the past 15 years. The visuals onstage were kept fairly simple. It was traditional fair, performers in black outfits seated with their instruments and Conductor Eric Heidner at the center.

The songs they played, however, transported the audience to a different world altogether, melting away the red walls and seats of the Garvin Theatre.

Compositions such as “Around the World in 80 Days” took the nearly 215 audience members on a whirlwind trip around the globe, with sections representing a variety of cultures and musical traditions.

The band evoked imagery of Europe, Japan, San Francisco, and New York, offering a peek into various places miles and miles away from the theatre.

“Resplendent Glory,” used its vivacious music and sweeping melodies to capture what it must feel like to be the central character of a Hollywood blockbuster. For those who’ve always wanted to take a trip to Middle-Earth, “The Lord of the Rings” first symphony provided just that.

“Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song” was a personal favorite, telling the story of a young girl who is given a music box.

As she grows up, leaving her Japanese family for an American husband, she finds that her only connection to her culture is the music box that was given to her as a child. The music itself was serene and tragic, but the silence at the end of the piece truly felt deafening.

It certainly wasn’t all serious. The standout piece of the night made a stop in Las Vegas. “Godzilla Eats Las Vegas!” followed the story of the infamous monster Godzilla terrorizing Sin City and crushing performers left and right. He is then thwarted by an army of Elvis impersonators after falling in love with the Sphinx outside the Luxor hotel.

The piece was written on a dare, but quickly became one of the most magical pieces of the night.

If the story itself wasn’t ridiculous enough, then the feather boas and party hands donned by the screaming flutists and ill-fitting Elvis costume worn by a percussionist certainly would be. That’s not including the Godzilla plush that got thrown at a band member who was barking like a terrier, or the pianist who slumped to his keys after being “attacked” by Godzilla.

It was an absolutely beautiful and delightful thing to see.

The band seemed absolutely joyous but never compromised their impressive skill for the sake of being surprisingly capable performers. They kept the audience laughing at their antics and enthralled in the music, which is an impressive feat.

The piece was met with a deserved standing ovation.

Some of the pieces played were a bit on the weaker side. Much of the second act seemed to drag on slightly (with “Godzilla” being the exception), but that seemed to be more of an issue with the pieces chosen, as opposed to the performers.

However, it still managed to be an absolutely unforgettable experience and was a strong finish to the band’s year.

This spring was a strong semester for the concert band and it will be extremely exciting to see what they do in the fall.