University of Puget Sound Band Trip: An Interview With Mr. Rnic

From February 23rd to 25th, 80 musicians of the St. George’s School Senior Band were at the University of Puget Sound (UPS) in Tacoma, Washington. The school band was invited to perform at the university by Dr. Gerard Morris, the UPS Director of Music. Since first meeting the SGS Band at the 2014 Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival, Dr. Morris has worked with St. George’s on numerous occasions.

The band, along with music department faculty and other supporting staff, departed on their musical journey on Thursday, February 23rd. Stopping at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, they spent the afternoon exploring its music exhibits and demonstrations. At night, they completed their first rehearsal at the UPS School of Music in preparation for the concert on Friday.

Dennis Wang
Dinner at hotel with friends after a long day of traveling

The St. George’s Band had the pleasure of working with the talented UPS Music Department:  Dr. Robert Musser, Dr. Gerard Morris, and the university Wind Ensemble. The boys, through workshops with Dr. Musser and Dr. Morris, was able to fine tune the musical expression of critical pieces like Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song and Handel in the Strand. As Dr. Musser explained, “music is like a dance – it is only exciting when movement and style are added”.

According to Marko Rnic the Saints Director of Music, it was a “magnificent” concert” and “the boys played beautifully”. The first to perform, they captured the audience’s attention with Xerxes, an explosive concert march written by John Mackey. Then the band continued on to play two movements from Simple Gifts (by Frank Tichelli), Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song (by Samuel Hazo), and Handel in the Strand (by Percy Grainger). Finishing the tour repertoire, the St. George’s band entered the stage with the UPS Wind Ensemble to jointly perform March from Symphonic Metamorphosis (Paul Hindemith). The St. George’s boys invited the UPS musicians to a reception after the concert. With food and drinks, they enjoyed socializing with each other, discussing music and university life.

Dennis Wang
Friday night rehearsal, sitting in the trumpet section

On the last day, the St. George’s band embarked on their journey back to British Columbia. Shortly after stopping at the famous Pike Place Market in Seattle, the boys finally returned to school in the afternoon.

This was the first time that the St. George’s Senior Band collaborated with a university ensemble in a joint concert; yet, it was a huge success. The UPS experience is only one of the many trips that the school band embarks on. Next year, the its members are excited to participate in the European Band Tour, performing in cities such as Vienna, Munich, and Salzburg.

For the boys, “it all comes down to life lessons,” Rnic states. Teamwork is an important skill to learn in band: “People, on one hand, are asked to be individually expressive; yet, [they] all have to be very disciplined and do all things at the same time, in the same way… people have to work together to talk, discuss, and change – in order to get a great result.”

Dennis Wang
Departing Schneebeck Concert Hall


You can watch the live recording of the performance at: