As the semester draws to a close, Ohio State’s Symphonic Band prepares for its final concert and one last goodbye to School of Music Director Richard Blatti.
Blatti will retire at the end of the year, but before then he will be a guest conductor at the Symphonic Band concert Wednesday night.
“It’s wonderful to see him step out of the administrative role, sort of out of his office and into his happy place with these advanced musicians and be able to make music one last time before he retires,” said conductor and assistant professor David Hedgecoth. “It’s a very positive experience in that aspect.”
The Symphonic Band — along with the other School of Music bands, such as Wind Symphony and Collegiate Winds — holds auditions before every semester for undergraduate and graduate music students.
“It’s an exciting experience working with such a diverse array of musicians,” Hedgecoth said. “It’s also exciting because we play such a varied repertoire of music. It’s not what I call kind-of-tired band music. We do contemporary works, many of which carry a message with them.”
Hedgecoth said the concert Wednesday will feature a mix of older and newer works, with the second half celebrating Blatti’s career. A reception in Blatti’s honor is scheduled to follow.
The Symphonic Band practices every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for two hours. For the past two weeks, Blatti has been attending portions of its practices. Blatti will conduct the performances of Karl King’s “Purple Pageant” and Alfred Reed’s arrangement of “Nimrod.”
“One of my favorite things about working with Blatti is how emotional and enthusiastic he is about these two works,” said Joe Sipzner, president of the Symphonic Band and a second-year in music education.
Music school faculty notice Blatti’s magic with students.
“In regard to his musicianship and his teaching ability and his expertise in the craft of music-making, it’s been really formative and educative as a colleague just to watch him do what he does best,” Hedgecoth said.
The Symphonic Band’s concert is set for Wednesday night in Weigel Auditorium at 8 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.