Bluffton University to host Winter Instrumental

BLUFFTON — The Bluffton University Concert Band will perform its Winter Instrumental Concert this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the university’s Yoder Recital Hall.

Director of bands Roy Couch said there will be several different selections on the setlist, including an homage to Philip Glass and an homage to the Underground Railroad.

“We do four concerts in the year and that’s one of the four,” he said. “And we welcome community people to play with us. It usually lasts about an hour at the most so you can get some music and you don’t get out of there too late for Sunday dinner.”

Couch said there are usually seven or eight pieces and that the band rehearses about two hours per week. The main goal of the performance is to give the people something entertaining.

“As a conductor, I try to program a variety of things,” he said. “My main focus is good music to start. And then I focus on whether it is going to be interesting to the students and to the audience.”

Couch said he is looking forward to one thing in particular in this performance.

“I have a medley of childhood songs with about seven or eight nursery rhyme songs in different settings and that’s a lot of fun,” he said. “I just look forward to getting on stage with these players. It’s always so exciting to work toward a concert and then perform it with people who are there to react to it and justify live music.”

Couch said that that is important in the years after the pandemic shut down public life and forced his bands to perform in empty rooms and record their music for the virtual audience.

“It just really didn’t have the same kind of life so when we got back to a live concert it was exciting,” he said. “There’s something in the air when people respond and applaud and they’re just sitting there while we’re trying to bring them some kind of joy.”

Couch has been a performer so he knows what it means to put in the work for an audience.

“I always enjoy that a lot and have a buzz after concerts that takes me a while to calm down from,” he said. “This is why I got into music. Live music excited something in me and the kids do too because they put it all together and really do a lot considering the lack of rehearsal time we have together.”

Ultimately, though, Couch just hopes the audience does not come away bored.

“I want them to think there was always something interesting going from one piece to the next,” he said. “I don’t do 24-minute, three-movement pieces that are really intense. I just want this to be an enjoyable afternoon of music.”

For more information on the free concert, visit the Bluffton University website.

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.