At a large public university full of traditions, some annual events, even ones that are 97 years-old, can get overlooked to the point that many students are unaware that they even exist. One such tradition is the UI Summer Band’s Twilight Concerts on the quad.
Dr. Peter Griffin, who is in his 13th year as director of the ensemble, estimates that this group of roughly 125 musicians is composed of only a third music majors.
In addition to students, Griffin says that the group attracts members of the Parkland Community Band as well as U of I alumni.
Richard Schroeder, an alumni who plays clarinet in the band, said being able to play under
Griffin’s direction, something he never got to do as a student, is a major factor in his decision to play with the group for the first time this year.
“I’ve always wanted to be more active in the Champaign-Urbana band scene,”
Schroeder’s daughter, Tobie (a senior at the University of Illinois), plays bassoon in the group. Being able to spend time together is something they said they both enjoy about Summer Band.
“It’s a social event, not just playing music,” Schroeder said. Tobie added that it is also “fun, an opportunity to hang out with friends” as well as “a good way to stay in practice over
The group practices on Mondays and Wednesdays for two hours at every rehearsal. The first Twilight Concert took place on June 21, and the second will be held on July 18, beginning at 7 p.m. in front of the Illini Union.
“It’s a different style, quite a different practice atmosphere,” Schroeder said of the laid-back feel of the group.
The first concert, which ran approximately one hour, featured a variety of selections, from a compilation of “Sound of Music” tunes to Sousa marches, and the second concert should be in much the same vein.
Dr. Griffin said he tries to shuffle the musical repertoire, using “marches, show tunes, standard band literature and orchestral tunes” in the program to mix it up for the audience as well as the musicians.
Fans of the Marching Illini will also appreciate the rendition of “Illini Loyalty” that the band plays at the close of all its performances. Traditionally, the audience is mostly made up of friends and family of the musicians, but the outdoor setting allows casual listeners to drift in to enjoy the music, and the price is certainly right – it’s free – for the people who don’t have time to stay for the whole program. So if you’re looking for a weeknight diversion, or you just want to give the ol’ iPod a rest, check out the UI Summer Band – out the Quad.