Hanah Mack and Jesse Harte!

This week Her Campus had a sit down and get-to-know sesh with the Present and Vice Present of Aberdeen University’s Concert Band, Hanah and Jesse. Amongst all the sporty kids and fashionistas we sometimes forget about those oh so talented musicians! Concert Band is a wind instrument and percussion ensemble and is open to anyone, so we couldn’t think of a better society to find out about! Good thing this Her Campus editor knows them well enough to bag an interview inbetween their busy schedules!

First of all, a little bit of background info on our celebs. Hanah is currently in her fourth and final year of studying music at the university. She is originally from Edinburgh but fell in love with Aberdeen at first visit: I came to Aberdeen for the open day when I was still at school and I remember not wanting to get the train back home because I loved it so much up here. I loved the sound of the course and loved spending the day walking around campus, King’s College is stunning in the sunshine…so catching it that one day was very rare now that I know what the weather is really like up here! Hanah has been playing the flute in concert bands since she was at school and has also loved it, so it’s no surprise that she was headed straight to the Concert Band stall at the Fresher’s Fayre back in 2011: other players who know me well, know that band is my life! ;)

We musn't forget our lovely vice president, Jesse, who is a third year music student (who also plays the flute) and originally from Reading in England: A fair trek from up here, it must be said, but I loved the city when I came for my audition. The course seemed very well rounded and still suits me well. Its definitely putting me on the right track in life!  Jesse, like Hanah, had been playing in Concert Bands way before coming to Aberdeen: I've been in a concert band for pretty much as long as I can remember. I joined my school's band when I got into secondary school at 11, and kept going every Tuesday until I left, performing in every concert and tour along the way. I was also principle flute/piccolo for my county's Wind Band for my last two years in Reading - we competed at a national level in Birmingham in 2011.

Hanah’s job as President is to make sure that everything runs smoothly and that the committee all have jobs to do and that everyone in the band is happy! Easy, right? We at Her Campus applaud Miss Mack for her crazy good organisational skills. I am a very organised person, but without Jesse and the rest of the committee nothing would be possible. Everyone has an important job and I’m very grateful for all that they do…I have a FABULOUS committee!!

Jesse describes himself as: Hanah 2.0. I try to act as her 'second in command'; if she were not to be at a rehearsal, I would step in to talk to the band at the start and finish to deliver any information needed.

Now let’s talk about Concert Band itself. The rehearsal is split into two band rehearsals, Wind Band and Concert Band. When asked how these bands work Jesse explained The society is split into two - the Concert Band and Wind Band. Concert Band is an un-auditioned community band, meaning anybody can join! Generally we play pieces in this band at around grade 5/6 standard, but I've seen people of a lower grade manage perfectly fine - everybody in the band is happy to help those in need. Wind Band is a smaller auditioned band, primarily focussed towards students although this doesn't mean auditions aren't open to all (and it doesn't mean only students get in!) Hanah also added: the band is made up of all types of players from music and non-music students, as well as members of the community, dusting off their instruments and wanting to play for fun, and we also have a few teenagers who are looking to improve their playing. Anyone is welcome to join - especially non-music studentssome of our best flute and trumpet players study things like Law, Maths and Englishyou begin to love to hate them for being so multi-talented!

As a non-music student who is part of both ensembles I can absolutely vouch for this. Not being a music student made no difference to how fun and social the band is!

I asked Jesse what he liked best about band and if he had any favourite moments during his three years as part of the ensemble. I think the best thing about band is getting to play excellent music with wonderful people (cue the cringe-induced groans, but it's true!). I've always loved concert band playing - it's different to orchestras in that all the instruments pretty much always have something to do. The music is always good fun as well. So far, my favourite moment would have to be when we received our Gold Plus award at the Concert Band festival in 2013. I somehow managed to play everything right despite suffering an awful hangover...

Hanah agreed, but admitted that her favourite part of band is the Halloween rehearsals: I’m so excited for this year’s Halloween rehearsal in two weeks, we have a fancy dress rehearsal and all get so competitive with our costumes to try and win the ‘best costume’ and ‘best section’ prizes. Us flutes have a great one up our sleeves this year, everyone else better get their thinking caps on; they don’t want to lose to us AGAIN!

The Band turns Halloween into a big social event and it always looks to be a great night! When I asked Jesse about fundraisers he said that they don’t have any plans set in stone but he did comment: I'd love to have a 'pie the conductor' event...although he may not be so happy about this...buuuuut I am the Vice President sooooo...

Abusing your powers a bit there? Having said that, I’m pretty sure that would be a very popular event, get on it Jesse!

Okay, so let’s get to our big questions: WHEN IS YOUR NEXT CONCERT? [Jesse] ON THE 29TH NOVEMBER!! We will be holding a concert in St Machar's Cathedral, in which both Wind Band and Concert Band will be performing. Wind Band will be performing a programme following the theme of military and remembrance, due to this year marking the centenary of the First World War. The Concert Band's repertoire will consist of four pieces representing the natural elements - fire, earth, water and wind. It is set to be an exciting concert with wonderful music from both bands.

[Hanah] I love concert time; it has such a buzz about it! We also have some very exciting plans in the pipeline for next semester so keep your eyes peeled!

So, after reading this are you now thinking about joining a music ensemble next year or even next semester? It looks like Concert Band is the one to aim for. I’ve been in Concert Band since my first year of university (yep, I’m a band geek at heart) and I absolutely love it and met some of my closest friends there. Hanah and Jesse are also super keen for extra players! [Hanah] Anyone thinking of joining band next semester or next year should come along to our concert and see if they think it’s something they want to be a part of. We are a massive group of very friendly and welcoming people who love meeting new musicians. [Jesse] I say it a lot but it's fun to be part of something big, to make new friends, play enjoyable music...there are a lot of reasons to join. We don't bite. Honest.

So if you find yourselves free on Saturday 29th November get your butt to the concert in St Machar’s Cathedral. You may need to pre-book your tickets though as this concert is notorious for selling out every year!