PennWest Clarion Symphonic Band will present “Dances, Masses, and Marches” at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 in Marwick-Boyd auditorium. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the free performance.


Directed by Andrew A. Ortega, Symphonic band comprises about 50 people – mostly students with some community members. The ensemble rehearsed six hours a week to prepare for Tuesday’s concert, which is the first of two concerts Symphonic Band will present this spring.


The concert opens with Ralph Vaughn Williams’ “English Folk Song Suite,” commissioned by the Royal Military School of Music and premiered July 4, 1923. The three-movement suite contains folk songs from the Norfolk and Somerset regions of England. The concert continues with “La Fiesta Mexicana II. Mass” by H. Owen Reed, then Canzon Per Sonare No. 1 “La Spiritata,” featuring PennWest Clarion Brass Ensemble. Composer Giovanni Gabrieli was fascinated by the acoustical resonance of voices and instruments within cathedral spaces, and he composed his pieces to maximize the resonance of the instruments.


Following intermission, Symphonic Band continues with “A Simple Song from Mass,” composed by Leonard Bernstein and arranged by Michael Sweeney. The final piece of the concert is “Courtly Airs and Dances,” with five movements. The “Intrada” represents a fanfare-like entrance to a festival. “Pavane” is elegant, yet slightly faster and showcases the woodwind and brass sections separately. “Saltarello,” an energetic and lively dance for a couple that begins with flute accompanied by a tambourine, with instrumentation added as the work continues. “Sarabande,” a slow dance in triple time, combines the ensemble’s instrumentation with singing. “Allemande” concludes the work with energetic percussion with fanfare-like brass and woodwind melodies.