Credit: Christopher Woodruff | Courtesy

After a year and half of performing exclusively online, Cal Poly’s Music Department is back in full swing this fall with a variety of in-person events. 

The first in-person event of the year is the Bandfest at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 in the Performing Arts Center. Bandfest will include the Wind Orchestra, the Wind Ensemble and Mustang Band.

Due to the nature of the pandemic, Bandfest and the subsequent events were not easy to plan due to an uncertainty of involvement.

“Most of us were on pins and needles because we didn’t know if some students would come back to our groups after COVID[-19],” assistant professor and Director of Bands Christopher Woodruff said. “We had to wait until after auditions, which was the first week of school, to pick out our literature and rehearse because we just didn’t know how many musicians we would have.” 

Woodruff will conduct the Wind Orchestra and the Wind Ensemble.

The Wind Orchestra will start off the concert with Brian Balmages’ “That Which Binds Us” and Robert Sheldon’s “Beyond the Higher Skies.” The Mustang Band will finish the event with songs by well-known artists and songs the group has performed at football games. 

“Attendees can look forward to hearing a wide variety of music,” Woodruff said. “From the music that portrays deep emotional content [to] music that is boisterous and joyful. We hope it is infectious music to our audience.” 

Students also take part in these events — like Mustang Band CEO and political science senior Katherine Hanson. 

Hanson said she is excited for the upcoming Bandfest event. 

“I always look forward to our performances because we bring all the energy both for the players and the crowd,” Hanson said. “It is an incredible feeling to perform and it gives you a sense that you are connecting with others in a way that you would not be able to otherwise. It is great to see our audiences match our energy when we are performing.”

After Bandfest, the department will host the Arab Music Ensemble Fall Concert. The concert, directed by ethnomusicologist Kenneth Habib, will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 6 in the Performing Arts Center. 

The ensemble will combine a choir and orchestra performing a variety of precomposed genres, as well as improvisation using the traditional melodic systems of music-making, according to Habib. 

Attendees can look forward to internationally recognized guest artists who will be performing alongside the student group. 

“The instrumentation will include a variety of indigenous Arab instruments, as well as some adapted ones, and the show will feature a wonderful dance troupe that has worked closely with the ensemble since its beginnings 15 years ago,” Habib said.

The event will also perform the muwashshah, an Arabic poetic form and song, and will feature traditions of the Ottoman era and a traditional vocal piece featuring the text of Antara Ibn Shaddad, a sixth-century poet. 

On Nov. 12, the Fall Jazz Concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center. 

“I am so happy to finally be back in front of a live audience and the energy that that creates,” Choral Program Director Scott Glysson said.

The event will feature an album that was recorded during the pandemic from the homes of students. 

Tickets for the three events can be purchased through the Performing Arts Center. Tickets will be sold online for $10 for students and $15-$20 for the general public. 

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