The Band Extravaganza features variety of styles and sounds


Garrett Heyd/Iowa State Daily

The Iowa State Marching Band plays loud after the Cyclones scored against the TCU Horned Frogs on Oct. 5, 2019. Iowa State won 49-24.

Lydia Wede

The Iowa State Band Extravaganza is coming to Stephens Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

In this flashy production, four of the best ensembles from Iowa State are coming together to put on a mass performance, including the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble 1, State Storm and the Iowa State University Cyclone Football ‘Varsity’ Marching Band. 

This weekend Iowa State will feature a “band concert on steroids,” said Christian Carichner, assistant teaching professor of music and theater, associate director of bands and director of the Cyclone Marching Band.

Michael Golemo, professor of music and theater, is serving his 21st year as the director of bands. Golemo will be conducting the Wind Ensemble, which has over 60 instrumentalists. He said he appreciates the work his students put into details and perfection.

“The Wind Ensemble is a group that’s designed for indoor music,” Golemo said. “And the group is very polished from a technical perspective and from a musical and expressive perspective.”

The Wind Ensemble will be performing three songs: “American Hero” by Bruce Broughton, “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral” by Richard Wagner and “Apollo Unleashed” from “Symphony No. 2” by Frank Ticheli. 

Although Golemo conducts the Wind Ensemble as director of bands, he said he appreciates the work of all the student musicians. 

“I conduct the Wind Ensemble so that’s always exciting for me and I am so proud of those students for what they accomplish musically,” Golemo said. “I am equally proud of those students who are in the jazz ensemble and the marching band as well. It’s like asking which of your children is your favorite.”

The second musical group will be the Jazz Ensemble 1. Even though this is a band of just 20, they specialize in all sorts of musical styles and genres, such as swing, bebop, jazz rock, Latin and contemporary jazz.

This group is conducted by Justin Smiley-Oyen, lecturer of music and theater and interim professor of trumpet and jazz.

The jazz conductor’s ensemble stands out from the rest of the performers at Band Extravaganza with two things: “Amplifiers. We’ll bring the hipness,” Smiley-Oyen said.

The jazz style of music allows students to express more creativity and make their performance unique. Their song selection is also a contributing factor.

“There were a lot of reactions when we pulled that chart out,” Smiley-Oyen said. “A lot of people went, ‘Oh sweet!’ A lot of students also liked our closer ‘Time Out’ which is a Buddy Rich chart known for really blazing-fast, intricate playing.”

During the intermission, State Storm will entertain the audience. Directed by Javan Shields, assistant teaching professor of music and theater, State Storm is the junior varsity marching band and also doubles as the pep band for many sporting events. 

As the grand finale, students from the Iowa State University Cyclone Football ‘Varsity’ Marching Band (ISUCF’V’MB) will converge onto the stage from all directions. The ISUCF’V’MB has approximately 200 members with three drum majors, Shelby Robinson, Brian Caskey, and PJ VanDerWeide, and is directed by Carichner. Carichner notes while they can’t do drill and field marching on the stage at Stephens, the band doesn’t have to change much for a great indoor performance.

“It’s one of those concerts where it’s not too loud,” Carichner said. “You think a marching band indoors would be loud but it’s just loud enough to make it extremely exciting. It’s really a great time. You see the color guard, the twirlers, the marching band performing some of their hits from the year.” 

For those who want the most band for their buck, the Iowa State Band Extravanganza offers two hours filled with top-tier musicians playing incredible shows.

“It’s really a display of some of the best that the music department has to offer at Iowa State, specifically with bands,” Carichner said. “You get to see the top concert band in the Wind Ensemble, our top jazz band in Jazz Ensemble I, and the Cyclone Marching Band and State Storm. You get to see those students’ culmination of an entire semester worth of work in an indoor concert in one of the best concert venues in the Midwest.”

Many people also appreciate the variety of performances. Before the audience can grow bored with one genre of music, they switch ensembles to provide a completely different atmosphere. 

“It’s a parade of Iowa State Music’s programs – some of its best talent,” Smiley-Oyen said. “It’s a really, really fun event where you get to see a nice cross-section of the entire department.”

Student and senior tickets are $5 while adult tickets are priced at $10.