In a rare spell of unusual sunshine, I found myself walking with my housemates to the Quay to witness probably the best band in the world (if you didn’t catch that cheeky little uni reference, I suggest you haul yourself to the Guild shop and have a gander at some of the Carlsberg-esque stash). I’m talking about Exeter University Concert Band, of course – one of many fine music societies that we are lucky to have at our university. I would call myself the band’s number one fan, but alas, that would be terribly biased so I shall settle for number two. After attending all their previous concerts over the past academic year, I was tragically excited to attend their summer event. A quick dismissal of my whining housemates and the show was ready to commence and it did not disappoint!
In order to please a public audience, the band focused predominantly on scores from well-known films and theatrical productions. This included the Mulan suite, Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Who and one of my personal favourites, The Phantom of the Opera. The group was exceptional in their abilities; no tune was unrecognisable. There were no faces contorted in horror; every individual who watched the musicians play was immersed in a composed world of complete and utter wonder. I found myself singing along (inside my head because if I started singing, the crowds would have thrown themselves into the waters of the river and that is not good publicity), due to the authenticity of the music flowing from all the different instruments.
“every individual who watched the musicians play was immersed in a composed world of complete and utter wonder”
In all honesty, every time I see a band like EUCB play, I am mesmerised by the way their fingers and mouths move on a lump of metal to create an amazing soundscape that enchants any who listen. I’ve already mentioned how I loved The Phantom of the Opera. For me, it was the contrast of delicate flute sounds with the bold brass. Naturally, this is the dramatic nature of the score itself, but, the manner in which EUCB pulled off such a classic piece was quite frankly fantastic. It sent tingles over my skin; that happy sensation that encroaches upon your body when it knows you have experienced something wondrous. That wonder is what EUCB create every single time they perform. It is impressive, outstanding, and ever so phenomenal. Apologies, I seem to have regurgitated a thesaurus, but I’m afraid it is what EUCB deserve. I cannot use enough positive words to describe this talented bunch. It’s taking a lot to not just write “EUCB are bloody incredible” over and over.
Of course, this eloquent display of complete harmony would not have been quite as successful without the swift hands of the conductors. Decorating pauses between pieces with a sprinkle of light hearted comedy (or absolute banter), the three conductors maintained the smiles on the audience’s faces and made sure that everyone knew what was going on and who they were. It only made the crowds even more enthused to open their ears to music.
“impressive, outstanding, and ever so phenomenal”
As much as I loved the cinematic scores – hell, the Doctor Who one brought tears to my eyes – the group did give some much needed attention to more classical pieces. One I believe they performed exceptionally well was ‘Overture Jubiloso’. Huge flourishes of contrasting tones combined with flowing, melodic lines allowed EUCB to flaunt their ability, the end result being a truly magnificent piece that every single member should be proud of. Such a beautiful intensity allowed the band to move from land to (almost) sea, as even people who were enjoying a casual pedalo in the sun stopped by the riverside and intently gazed upon the musicians.
I cannot recommend enough that you go and see this band. I’m 90 per cent certain they live streamed this concert and I’m sure if you message one of committee, they might share it with you. I just want everyone who reads this to support such an incredible society. With no auditions to join, the group are far more relaxed than other music societies but by no means are they less talented. If you have yet to support them, I highly recommend you go to their next concert. And if you play an instrument, even better… you can join them AND perform in their concerts. *chants* EUCB EUCB EUCB!
PSA: Support all music societies at Exeter. They all deserve recognition for what they can do. From Old Firehouse to Christmas concerts, keep your eyes peeled for the next musical event and go. I promise you will enjoy it!bookmark me