Community Wind Ensemble scores standing ovation at Carnegie Hall

The 50-member ensemble was invited to participate by Larry Sutherland, artistic director for World Projects, which hosts the band and orchestra festival, and faculty emeritus at California State University, Fresno.

Patricia DeBenedetto, FPU music faculty, directs the Community Wind Ensemble.

The concert was April 1 in the Isaac Stern Auditorium/Ronald O. Perelman Stage of Carnegie Hall. "We all felt like stars," DeBenedetto said.

"It was such an embracing concert hall; it was easy for the musicians to sound good," she said. "I felt like I was conducting the Chicago Symphony. After we played our final note, the audience rose to their feet in a spontaneous standing ovation."

"In that hall everything sounds fuller, warmer and more sonorous," said Sarah Carter, a 2008 graduate who plays percussion in the ensemble.

Matthew Michal, a sophomore who plays bassoon in CWE, agreed. "Being in that kind of hall just forces the entire group to play at their utmost best."

On the program were selections by Alfred Reed, Frank Ticheli and Ralph Hultgren. Also on the program was the New York première of "From Alpha to Omega: Prelude and Fugue X" by music professor and composer Walter Saul.

Saul's arrangement, expressly for the wind ensemble, was from his From Alpha to Omega, a set of 24 preludes and fugues for piano in all the major and minor keys.

Other events of the trip included giving a pops concert in Central Park March 30 that drew a standing room only crowd. Sutherland also had a workshop with the group.

Back in Fresno, the Community Wind Ensemble will complete its 2008-2009 season with a program at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, at Sunnyside High School, 1019 S. Peach Avenue, near at Kings Canyon, in Fresno.

Tickets are available at the door and admission is $5 for general audiences, $4 for senior citizens and free to students. For more information, call 559-453-2267 or go to fresno.edu/performingarts/events/