To call the second performance of the season by Lander University's Wind Ensemble a holiday show would be a bit of an oversimplification.
The Dec. 2 event will include favorites like Alfred Reed's arrangement of "Greensleeves" and a collage of traditional carols arranged by Jay Bocook, but it will also feature such diverse and musically challenging selections as "Toccata," by Italian composer Girolamo Frescobaldi; the "Russian Sailors' Dance," by Soviet composer Reinhold Gliere; and "In the Hall of the Mountain King," by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.
The favorite of Lander assistant professor of music Dr. Reed P. Gallo, who directs the ensemble, is Robert Longfield's "Italian Holiday," a medley of some of Italy's best-known songs and arias, which Gallo said "bring back all these wonderful memories of my childhood."
It will be the ninth performance with the Wind Ensemble for trumpet player Tyler South, a music education major from Abbeville, who also plays with Lander's Jazz Ensemble and is a member of the Old Main and University Singers.
South's interest in the trumpet dates to a visit the Abbeville High School Band paid Westwood Elementary School when he was in the fifth grade. Evan Moats, the older brother of South's friend, Jeff Moats, played trumpet in the band. He made quite an impression.
"I wanted to be that good and be able to play the stuff that he was playing on stage," he said.
For South, it was not an easy road. Without private lessons, it would have been difficult for him to function as a member of the Wright Middle School Band.
He persisted, however, and his efforts were eventually rewarded. He remembers a solo of the Mar-Keys' tune "Last Night" that he did as a member of the Abbeville High School Band, that sent a crowd gathered for a football game into a frenzy.
Another high point was his rendition of Count Basie's "Corner Pocket" during a performance with the Jazz Ensemble in 2008.
"It felt as though I was having an out-of-body experience, and the music was leading my hands and lips to find the right notes to play," he said.
South won't rule out a career as a professional musician, but his immediate goal is to secure a job as a music educator. He would prefer to work with elementary-age students, "because you get to see them grow more than at other age levels," he said.
He credits Byron Hilley, who taught him through middle school and high school, former Lander assistant professor of music Dr. Chris Hughes, Josh Snelling of the Swinging Medallions and Gallo for influencing his development as a musician. He said that Gallo, in particular, has been a "vital key in where I am now as a trumpet player."
The Wind Ensemble's first performance of the season "went over very well," Gallo said, and he is sure the second will, too. He encourages area residents to turn out for an evening of "great music."
The concert, to begin at 8 p.m. in the Josephine B. Abney Cultural Center Auditorium, is free and open to the public.