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Texas State Wind Symphony brings poetry to life

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Photo by: Russell Reed | Staff Photographer
The Texas State Wind Symphony performs Feb. 26 in Evans Auditorium.

Thanks to the Texas State Wind Symphony, audience members experienced a night of poetry and music combined.

The symphony premiered Robert Beaser’s “The End of Knowing” and Steve Bryant’s “Ecstatic Waters,” Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Evans Auditorium.

Featured artists included internationally acclaimed soprano Margaret Rose-Koenn from Germany and baritone Ron Ulen, associate professor of voice.

The performance included a total of seven song cycles, each of which were dedicated to a certain piece of poetry. Ulen said the poems partnered with the songs exposed deep life meanings to audience members.

“It kind of follows the people through their lives, and different stages of life and world affairs.” Ulen said. “It’s kind of a wide-reaching set of poems. Some of them really get down to your heart and soul.”

Ann Mary-Lancaster, San Marcos resident, said she found the poetry relatable.

“It was interesting,” Mary-Lancaster said. “I did find myself lost in the word of the poetry quite a bit, because I was able to recall similar situations.”

Mary-Lancaster said she also enjoyed the contrast of voices in the piece.

“Their voices were great together,” Mary-Lancaster said. “Very different, but they sounded and worked very well together. Overall, I would say I was very impressed with the whole thing.”

Ulen said the pieces brought a challenge to vocals, as they were more rhythmic than a slow melody.

“It’s a difficult piece, very rhythmic,” Ulen said. “It is different than what singers are faced with usually. It was very interesting and fun to learn.”

Ulen and Rose-Koenn have worked together in the past. Ulen said it was a joy to see an old friend again.

“It’s great,” Ulen said. “She’s a wonderful co-worker. Great soprano. I’ve know her for about 15 or 16 years. We used to sing a lot in Germany before I came back here to teach, and now we got to reacquaint.”

Samuel Montano, New Braunfels resident, said he appreciated the historical references in a couple of the poems.

“I did pick up on the history bits,” Montano said. “I thought it was neat. Music can collaborate with everything, and I think that is one of the most beautiful aspects. It can take you places, and I would definitely say that happened here tonight.”

Ulen said he would recommend audience members to take home and study the poems in the program to gain a greater understanding of the emotional aspect.

“I hope they took away some great new music,” Ulen said. “If they have time to read the program notes and take the poetry home and study it, because maybe one time hearing it they may not have the same feeling after that we did because of how long we studied it.”

Ulen said he connected to the opening number, “Follower,” which trails the relationship of a young boy and his father.

“The ‘Follower’ rings true with me because of the relationship I had with my father, a very good relationship,” Ulen said. “The poetry talks about always wanting to be like your dad and it’s kind of the same thing for me. My dad was always my hero.”

Montano said he is always eager to hear new music and appreciates the time the symphony spent on the music.

“I am always looking for something new,” Montano said. “I think I heard something very unique tonight. It would be hard to pick a favorite, but I gained new appreciation to say the least.”