Molly Shoulta ‘13
GC News Bureau Intern
Dewey Creech (tuba) and artist Erica Miller (trombone) with her five studies of a human face morphing into a demon.
The posters are up, the paint dry, and the Skype cued for a Tiger Symphonic Band concert unlike any other one in its 165 year history. The Angels and Demons are ready for their reveal at the Annual Spring Concert of the Tiger Symphonic Band, set for next 8 p.m., Thursday (April 22) in John L. Hill Chapel. The performance is free and open to the public.
Band director Dr. Pete LaRue has pieced together something rarely seen on Georgetown’s campus – a night celebrating music through artwork, several readings presented by various voices, sound and technical work, and solo and assisting artists – all tied together with the central “Angels & Demons” motif.
“We’re not absolute,” explained LaRue. “We’re a bit of both angel and demon. We fight our own demons, but we also have to allow angels to surface, which can be a challenge in itself.” Thus, as pieces started coming together, including “When Angels Weep” by David Shaffer and two movements from the Divine Comedy, “Paradiso” and “Inferno” by Robert W. Smith, the theme started to appear.
The GC Band currently stands as the oldest university or college band program in the Commonwealth. The first band held the motto “Music for all occasions,” and LaRue strives to live up to the same words even almost two centuries later. “We have tried to be an integral part of the campus and community,” he said. “We have concerts, play for sports, for scholarship days, at Windsor Gardens, and even in community parades. It is a privilege and pleasure in being a key part.”
Among the faces appearing on stage throughout the concert will be Georgetown’s Provost Dr. Rosemary Allen, who will be doing a reading from Milton. Dr. Barbara Burch, Chair of the English department will read from Dante.
Allen believes LaRue’s concerts show great planning and production. This particular concert goes beyond all others in its unifying theme that allows LaRue’s creativity to be showcased. “I am particularly impressed,” Dr. Allen said, “with the way he has used this concert as a way to develop interdisciplinary connections for his students and for his audience.” She went on to say that this particular melding of different strengths of students serves as “a significant contribution to the liberal arts atmosphere of this campus.”
One familiar campus face will appear via Skype and do a reading all the way from Regent’s Park College, Oxford, England. When the band realized as far back as last spring that Rebecca Thompson – a junior from Flatwoods, KY – would not be at the spring concert due to her acceptance into the Oxford Program, the Skype session came up. So LaRue turned to freshman Logan Poe, his “technical guru” from Paris, to make it happen. “Rebecca is a mainstay of the Tiger band,” LaRue said. She is strong in academics, music, and in her faith. It didn’t seem right to not have her somewhere.”
Thompson will do a reading from C.S. Lewis; and Stephen Parker, a junior from Middlesboro and Student Voice of the Tiger Bands, is doing one from Boethius. “Each of the readings deals with the age-old dichotomy of good versus evil – the part angel, part demon in each of us,” LaRue said.
A prominent part of the concert, however, will not be in musical form. Band Scholar Erica Miller’s student solo will be in the form of the visual art display she has designed to exhibit throughout the Chapel. Though the senior from Taylorsville is a talented trombonist as well, the band actually found out by accident that Miller had a gift for drawing. She would doodle on the dry erase board as a freshman, and fellow band members, and even LaRue himself, would be amazed at her quick and effortless talents. One of Miller’s central pieces is a panel of 5 studies on wood. Each study morphs a human face slowly in a demonic monster, showing there are few steps between what humans are and what they can become.
Dewey L. Creech, a junior from Frankfort, will serve as the night’s featured student musical soloist as he performs “Beelzebub” on the Tuba with the rest of the band. “He’s truly a gifted musician,” said LaRue, adding that he was one of the top Tuba players in the state at Western Hills High and continues to be one of the top college Tuba players.
The young talent in the band is quite astonishing as well. Whether it is in school, music, or faith, LaRue believe this years “fledglings” to be one of the top three classes in his 17 years of band experience here at Georgetown. He describes them all as the tops academically, gifted musicians, and “generally hilarious.” Even though the freshman class is still learning to adjust to their life as a band scholar, LaRue describes them as a “special group.” Among the young talent is Evan Harrell, a freshman from Middlesbor who, at the ripe old age of 18, has now written his second piece for performance by the band, “Lucifer.”