Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

SDSU Wind Symphony and Arts Alive SDSU Celebrate Earth Day with “Winds of Change”

SDSU musicians, recording engineers, and film and audio crew honor Earth Day with a concert drawing attention to global warming and our need to ensure the future of our planet.

SDSU Wind Symphony and Arts Alive SDSU Celebrate Earth Day with “Winds of Change”

Winds of Change rehearsal

by Gabriela Romero

April 7, 2021

A communal project between San Diego State University faculty, musician students, and guest artists, Arts Alive SDSU will host a discussion panel to tackle global warming and changing climates on April 22 at 2pm. Then on April 23 at noon, the SDSU Wind Symphony presents a “Winds of Change” concert. It will feature two pieces, The Automatic Earth and Shifting Seas. Watch the concert webcast via YouTube, at San Diego State University: Music and Dance.

Part of Arts Alive, the panel discussion will feature student representatives, composer of The Automatic Earth Steven Bryant, chair of Geological Sciences at SDSU Allen Gontz, and SDSU’s director of bands Dr. Shanon Kitelinger. You can access the panel discussion on Zoom.

“‘Winds of Change’ is a play on words because the Wind Symphony is made of primarily wind instrumentalists (woodwinds and brass), while also acknowledging the growing problems associated with global warming and our need to adjust our ways of life to ensure the future of our planet,” Kitelinger says.

The concert will be recorded in Montezuma Hall in the Conrad Prebys Student Union and the new Healing Garden.

Since the garden opened the same week that the pandemic separated the community in 2020, “it seems fitting that ‘Winds of Change’ signals our highly anticipated return to campus with a powerful message about global unification,” Eric Smigel, chair of Arts Alive and School of Music and Dance professor says.

Aligned with SDSU’s Strategic Plan, “Winds of Change” encourages a “resilient and sustainable university through innovative practices.” According to the Strategic Plan, “as citizens of a larger global community, SDSU proudly embraces the principles of responsible environmental stewardship.”

The project began in fall 2019 and spring 2020, prior to the pandemic. What was originally to be a concert presentation in spring 2020 soon needed to be changed drastically to bring it to life. The Wind Symphony spent fall of 2020 recalibrating how to rehearse and make music in a distanced and safe environment.

“By situating the visceral experience of live music within geological and sociological studies, the ‘Winds of Change’ project affirms the inextricable link between our environment and the lives inhabiting it,” Smigel says.“Earth Day provides an opportunity for heightened awareness of environmental literacy and sustainability, and Arts Alive SDSU is committed to ensuring that the arts are an integral part of this global conversation.”

Productions coordinator Michaela Nasello agrees, “it’s important to keep the conversation alive and productive by using different methods of communication, like symphonic music, which can reach humanity in a way that words alone, though often powerful, simply cannot.”

Kitelinger states that “understandably, many students have really struggled over the past year of the pandemic, but [he’s] incredibly proud of how the students in the Wind Symphony have persevered and given their best to this project for an opportunity to create their art this semester … ”

One student oboe musician in “Winds of Change,” Claire Tongpalad, says “this project has allowed me to be a part of that conversation [about uncertainty with the pandemic and global warming].”

“We hope the ‘Winds of Change’ event will not only shape our understanding of climate challenges, but also influence the way we imagine solutions,” Smigel concludes.

Check out Arts Alive SDSU and the School of Music and Dance for more information about their programs.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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