Director Danny Helseth displays passion, guides team with success
“Tonight will tell the world that Seattle Pacific music is here,” said Danny Helseth, the director of the Seattle Pacific Wind Ensemble.
Though the entire world could not fit into the pews of First Free Methodist, those that came to the performance were wowed by the range of styles that the Wind Ensemble would conquer, as well as the passion of Helseth.
On Friday, Feb. 23, the Seattle Pacific Wind Ensemble held its winter concert, featuring a variety of sounds, melodies and SPU faculty members.
The night started with an exciting and surprisingly percussive piece titled “Just Flyin’,” which was written by Julie Giroux. The repertoire of the Wind Ensemble only broadened as the night went on.
The concert navigated from the contemporary stylings of “Dream Machine,” a haunting yet enchanting piece written by Katherine Bergman in 2016, to a classical piece that would be described as “the crown jewel of wind band literature” by Helseth.
The performance went on to “Soul Divine,” a song devoted to a student musician, David Gelinas, who passed away far too young. The arc of the song mirrored the ups and downs that come with the drama of life, while the evocative beauty of the song reflected the student’s passion for music and for life.
The fifth piece, titled “Psalm for Band,” was written by Vincent Persichetti in 1953, and was a love letter to wind symphony literature.
“I love music and I loved band and that seemed life enough,” Helseth said, on starting his position as the director of the Wind Ensemble Symphony.
Helseth stated that the piece was written by organist who creates symphonies that will reverberate throughout the hall as if they being played by an organ. As a result, the sounds of the piece were gracefully passed from section to section, creating a sound that traveled throughout the church.
“The Liberty Bell,” which finished off the show, contrasted with the drama of the pieces that preced it, brightening the air of the performance as a whole. The piece ended the night on an upbeat and hopeful note, sending the audience home with a reason to dance.
Throughout the show, audience members were completely entranced by the performance of the musicians as well as by the animated passion of the ensemble’s director.
Helseth’s passion for music comes out in each brief pause he takes to inform the audience of what they will hear as well as his animated direction of the ensemble during the performances.
It became clear very quickly that one of the primary reasons the Wind Ensemble has such a wide range of capabilities is because of their animated and enthusiastic leader.
The performance as a whole was filled with varieties of timbre and texture, changing rhythms, and pleasurable sounds, demonstrating the broad abilities of the Seattle Pacific Wind Ensemble and providing the audience with an enjoyable musical experience.