Dowagiac native to perform with ensemble

Angola, Ind. — When Jonathan Stockwell was deciding on where to attend college, there was no doubt in his mind — he would continue to be involved in band.

Now, Stockwell, a freshman at Trine University, who is majoring in mechanical engineering, is gearing up to perform with the Trine University Wind Ensemble at 3 p.m. on Feb. 23 at the T. Furth Center for Performing Arts, 500 W. Maumee St., Angola, Indiana.

Music will fill the hall with mystery and adventure as the ensemble performs, “I Spy: A Concert of Espionage,” with music from television shows and movies related to secret agents and spies. The wind ensemble is under the direction of Professor Mark Kays, the chair of Trine’s music department.

Stockwell first got involved in music during elementary school classes. He also had family members who had played in the high school band. In sixth grade, he picked up a saxophone and played it for a year. In seventh grade, he started playing the baritone saxophone and has not looked back since.

In high school band, Stockwell felt like the band room was always that place he could go and be surrounded by some of his best friends. 

“There’s a comradery of playing music,” he said. “It’s something different than playing a high school sport. It’s something you can do your entire life. For me, it’s the comradery and the friendships that are my favorite part.”

When deciding where to attend college, Stockwell was split between Trine University and Central Michigan University.

“I wasn’t going to go to a school if they didn’t have a marching band that I knew I could be a part of,” Stockwell said.

At Trine, Stockwell is part of the pep band, concert band and jazz band.

“I’m apart of all the bands I can be,” he said. “It’s awesome getting to play as much as possible.”

As a member of a variety of bands, Stockwell can play different variations of music.

“With pep band, the music isn’t as challenging but it’s a lot more fun,” Stockwell said. “With the wind ensemble, we are playing really challenging music that is technically challenging.”

At Feb. 23’s performance, the concert will open with “Get Smart” by Irving Szathmary, followed by “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” by Daniel Pemberton.

Assistant director Alyssa Newbill will conduct “Mission: Impossible” by Lalo Schifrin and Danny Elfman. After, Kays will return to the podium for “The Pink Panther” by Henry Mancini and “Bond James Bond,” arranged by Stephen Bulla, which includes music from “Goldfinger,” “The Spy Who Loved Me,” “The World Is Not Enough,” “Skyfall” and “Live and Let Die.”

Stockwell said he previously played one of the spy-themed songs in the high school band, but already he is noticing how different it sounds in the wind ensemble.

“The maturity of the students in the band with me and the different instrumentation, it has a completely different sound to it,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun getting to play with a group I’ve never played with before.”

Stockwell said he made one of his most memorable experiences in band during a fall semester jazz concert.

“That was the best jazz band I’ve ever played with,” he said. “It was just a phenomenal group, and we played a lot of challenging songs.”

From the Dowagiac Union High School marching band to Trine’s wind ensemble, Stockwell said he is excited for what is next.

“No matter where you go in band, you will always have people to go to, and you will make friendships,” Stockwell said. “It’s not just based on where you start in band. Everywhere you go in band, you’ll have new friendships and new opportunities to build relationships.”