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Monday, October 25, 2021

A musical ode to agriculture

Concert and campus band to put on concert celebrating College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

People are constantly referring to UC Davis as an agricultural haven. Around every corner you will find references to the rich tradition of agriculture on campus, from the official Aggie mascot to the unofficial cow mascot and the fact that the student store proudly sells UC Davis-made olive oil. The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) is highly ranked for a good reason. The concert bands of UC Davis hope to bring this to light and present an ode to this impressive part of the university’s culture.

Tomorrow,  June 3, at 7 p.m., the concert band and the campus band will hold their spring quarter concert at the Mondavi Center. Before the show and during intermission, there will be presentations and food tastings from the CAES, as well as other community, non-campus organizations. During the show, different members of the band community that are also entwined in agricultural and environmental sciences will give talks in between performances.

Both bands feature students and one faculty member of CAES. The director of the concert band, Pete Nowlen, came up with the idea after his students suggested songs for the concert that happened to fit the theme of agriculture.

“I thought if I do these two pieces then I could build a program around them that could be our salute to agriculture,” Nowlen said. “Then when I went and mentioned this to the band, which has several students in CAES, it built a lot of enthusiasm for the show.”

Grace Lewin, a first-year physics major and flute player in the campus band, was grateful for the opportunity to play music without having to be an intense student of music.

“I wanted to continue my flute playing in a relaxed manner even though I’m not a music major,” Lewin said. “[The campus band] gives me that opportunity without it being too time consuming.”

The campus band, as opposed to the concert band, is open to anyone without having to go through an audition. It practices once per week winter and spring quarters, whereas the concert band practices twice per week year round. This balance opens the music-playing experience to anyone interested in performing with a relaxed and passionate group of musicians.

Samantha Shaffer, a first-year electrical engineering major, plays the clarinet in the campus band and enjoys having found a community that provides an escape from the stress of difficult schoolwork.

“Playing music is fun, so it’s like a stress reliever,” Schaffer said. “At the end of the week, it’s nice to unwind and just get to play.”

Nowlen wants everyone to enjoy the music but also leave the concert with some knowledge about CAES.

“UC Davis is the number one university in agriculture for a reason and a lot of us know this fact but don’t really know some of the people and programs that have [contributed to the agriculture program’s success],” Nowlen said. “I’d like for people to better understand how a program like this is built.”

Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at the Mondavi Center’s event page.

Graphic by Jennifer Wu.

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