Last Sunday, the Bowdoin College Concert Band performed “Celebrations Part II: 25 Years of the Bowdoin College Concert Band” in a packed Studzinski Recital Hall. The show included several world premieres of pieces written by members of the Bowdoin community.

Directed by John Morneau, the band consists of roughly 40 members from the College and the Brunswick community. This year, Morneau is celebrating 25 years with the College. 

Morneau was hired by Elliott Schwartz, who taught music at Bowdoin from 1964 until 2007. On Sunday, Schwartz premiered a revised version of his “Celebration Overture,” the original version of which he composed in 1962 as a brief fanfare for the inauguration of a president of University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he then taught.

“It’s great to revisit an old piece,” said Schwartz. “It’s like watching your children growing up.” 

Studzinski was remodeled just as Schwartz was ending his time with the College.

“It’s nice to have my music played in the new space,” added Schwartz. 

When Schwartz left Bowdoin 2007, he was replaced by Associate Professor of Music Vineet Shende. Shende, who is on currently on sabbatical and is perhaps best know by the Bowdoin community as a member of the professor band Racer X, also premiered a piece on Sunday.

Shende’s piece is titled “…our last conversation was in Portuguese” and was written in memory of Emilie Parker, a six-year-old victim of the December shooting in Newtown, Conn. 

The title of the piece was taken from an interview with Parker’s father, Robbie Parker.    

“What he said was absolutely devastating,” said Shende, who recalled hearing the interview on NPR while making breakfast for his four-year-old daughter. “It really hit me hard, so I wanted to do something to just honor the memory of this girl.”

Shende’s piece is split into three sections. The first mirrors the speech patterns of Robbie Parker, the second is meant to be reminiscent of the drawings of Emilie Parker, and the third pulls inspiration from the 1599 Madrigal piece “Weep, O Mine Eyes,” settling into what Shende describes as a more reflective tone.

Throughout the piece, sound bites from Robbie Parker’s interview played from speakers positioned around the recital hall.

“I wasn’t expecting that kind of music,” said Phoebe Zhang ’16, who attended the concert. “It was something creative.”

“It’s always nice to have a piece premiered at Studz,” said Shende. “This is the first piece that I’ve written for students here, so that was kind of special for me.

Sunday’s third premiere piece was called “9.11 Memorial” and was written by Richard Francis ’92. Francis was a first year at the College when Morneau was hired and the band was formed, and was therefore part of the first class to spend four years with Morneau and the Concert Band. He was a student under Schwartz as well.

Both Francis and Shende’s pieces were followed by a moment of silence.

The band also performed pieces by Gordon Jacob, Bach, Guy Woolfenden, Pierre Leemans and Robert Sheldon.

In May, Schwartz and his wife will produce a performance in conjunction with the Chamber Choir, incorporating electronic sounds and visual images. 

Shende will return from sabbatical for the 2013-2014 academic year.