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Community Wind Ensemble brings ‘polarizing’ music to A&M-San Antonio

Community Wind Ensemble brings ‘polarizing’ music to A&M-San Antonio - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

SACWE Music Director Albert Aguilar conducts the San Antonio Community Wind Ensemble. The program’s second free and public performance of the 2022-2023 season attracted over 300 people. Photo courtesy of the San Antonio Community Wind Ensemble

When people are asked what they consider classical music, many students recall the relaxing and unprovoking scores that often accompany their five-hour textbook reading sessions.

But the San Antonio Community Wind Ensemble (SACWE) is not here to soothe. 

SACWE performed its second free public concert of the 2022-2023 season from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Feb. 5 in the Texas A&M University-San Antonio auditorium. The concert featured various music styles by composers Jack Stamp, William Pitts, Karl L. King, Steven Bryant, Jacques Press, Aaron Copland and Anton Dvorak. 

About 320 people attended the event, according to SACWE Music Director Albert Aguilar. The first performance, which was performed on campus just before winter break, attracted 280 people.

Audience member Rachel Hernandez said she thought the performance was different compared to what she had heard in wind ensemble music before and is now a fan.

“It was very colorful and interesting,” she said.

Even as its audience is growing, SACWE seeks to expand its variety and taste in the music styles that it performs, according to Aguilar.

The music pieces for a show are hand-picked and organized to contribute to each concert’s overarching theme, Aguilar said. For this show, the main idea was stark, divisive contrast in musical textures.

Aguilar explained that the show’s title piece, Pitts’ “Conniption,” encapsulates different musical ideas and is a “microcosm” of the entire program.

The music we chose for this concert has very polarizing styles: Loud and soft, fast and slow, and different rhythms that normally are not performed together now create a very wide range of listening for the audience,” Aguilar said.

Flautist Tatyana Lewis, 24, performs “Conniption” with the San Antonio Community Wind Ensemble. Lewis said she has enjoyed playing alongside fellow community leads, students and other woodwind enthusiasts this past season. Photo by Paul Cooper

Just like the music it performs, SACWE prides itself on being “deliberately diverse” and “fully inclusive,” as the program states on its website. The community ensemble features students, veterans, teachers and other San Antonio community members interested in playing and performing music for the wind ensemble.

In her second year with SACWE, Harlandale ISD teacher Tatyana Lewis has played the flute for over 10 years. 

She said she thinks the group’s second performance of the season “went great.”

“It’s amazing to hear us really grow as an ensemble and play more challenging music,” Lewis said.

Jazette Anaecli Tellez, a criminal justice freshman, is one of four A&M-San Antonio students participating in SACWE this season. 

Tellez has been with SACWE since Oct. 2022.

Tellez said her favorite thing about every performance is the opportunity to play alongside talented musicians and learn from them.

“The clarinet players that I have played along with these past two seasons have pushed me to be a better musician. I have definitely learned new terminology, fingering techniques and other music markings this year,” Tellez said. “This is what makes the performances super rewarding.”

The ensemble will return to A&M-San Antonio auditorium for two more concerts this spring on April 5 and May 21.

Keep up with SACWE on their website and social media pages.

About the Author

Serenity Hernandez Bogert
Serenity Hernandez Bogert is a communications senior, writer and musician. She lives in Austin part-time and enjoys playing guitar, working at Waterloo Records and writing for the music-focused video essay YouTube channel, Trash Theory.

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