Sixty-five years ago this Saturday many men fell while storming the beach of Normandy. The scenes surrounding D-Day have been relived by many filmmakers, most notably Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan.” And this Saturday, Cal Poly’s University Wind Orchestra and Wind Ensemble will put on its concert “Visions,” in which the sacrifice and glory of D-Day will be reenacted through music.

Guest trombonist Alex Illes will join the band for their performance of Eric Ewazen’s Concerto from Trombone, “Visions of Light.” Illes is a principal trombonist of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra and recently worked on the soundtrack for the hit motion picture Star Trek.

Many veterans will be in attendance, including Leo Domouchelle who was dropped behind the German line of defense two hours before the Normandy landing.

To really immerse the audience in the scene, trumphets and drums will surround the audience with a women’s chorus in the loft near the stage.

“We really want to give people an experience. The effects are totally different,” Cal Poly Music Professor and Director of Bands William Johnson said.

“It’s really interesting because we get the same energy rush the audience gets, but even more because we know the music and we worked so hard on it. So when you’re performing it, you’re like ‘Wow,’” said ensemble member, chief executive officer and child development senior Lexie Bosternero.

The sound of ocean waves will introduce the instruments and slowly intensify while newsreels of the Normandy invasion are shown, Johnson said.

“This is nothing like we’ve done before. It’s music that can’t be verbalized,” he said.

“Our directors have really been pushing us to get better. This concert is a little different because we have three concerts this quarter and we had to learn really challenging music for this concert in a relatively short time. We typically have only one concert per quarter,” Bostenero said.

It’s even more challenging for the 120 musicians performing because of their project due dates and finals coming up.

“It’s pretty crazy. It just shows how dedicated we are to put on great performance. We don’t have many music majors in the orchestra and ensemble and if you come backstage before and during intermission of a show, you’ll find people studying for finals.”

Some of the works to be performed include “Lonely Beach, Normandy 1944” and Alfred Reed’s “To Rejoice in the Beauty of Peace.”
The show will be the Wind Ensemble’s last for this season, but most members will return next year and perform at the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles.

Of that upcoming performance, Johnson said, “It’s a little scary because the standards are sky high. There’ll be a lot of work that needs to be done.”

Music senior Adam Brover, one of the ensemble’s music majors said the invitation by the Disney Hall just exemplifies how talented the group is.

Tickets are between $8 and $19 and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Ticket office 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2. p.m. Saturday. To order by phone, call SLO-ARTS (756-2787).

For additional information, call the Music Department at 756-2406.

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  1. The Cal Poly Wind Ensemble and Wind Orchestra are 2 amazing groups, led by 2 amazing conductors. I attended this concert and it was one of the best concerts I have ever attended. Prof. Johnson does a really great job with the music program here

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