'That's Entertainment' showcases Purdue's concert bands
Irish folk tunes, American gospel and Italian opera represent just a few of the musical flavors Purdue’s Fall Concert Band and Symphonic Band will sample in the season-opening “That’s Entertainment” on Sunday, Sept. 29,
It is set for 2:30 p.m. in Long Center, 111 N. Sixth St., Lafayette. Admission is free.
The diverse concert features the rare opportunity to hear the pennywhistle on the concert stage when Harrison High School graduate Jennifer Iles, principal flutist of Symphonic Band, solos in “Prism,” a contemporary tune with an Irish flair. It will also feature Los Angles soprano, Susan Cave, a graduate of Indiana University’s Opera School, in several popular gospel tunes – “Amazing Grace,” “His Eye is On the Sparrow” and “Old Time Religion.”
“Susan’s voice in light and pure, similar to that of Kathleen Battle’s, and is ideal for this collection of American gospel tunes,” says Jay S. Gephart, director of Purdue’s Symphonic Band.
Symphonic Band will back up Cave with special arrangements of the tunes by Luigi Zaninelli. Its portion of the program highlights another contemporary work, “Whirr, Whirr, Whirr” by Ralph Hultgren. “It is nothing but a whirlwind of music characterized by the constant movement of 16th notes so you feel the constant rushing of the wind. It just rips,” Gephart says.
The “Triumphal March and Ballet Music” from Aida caps their performance. “We have a tremendous transcription of this music by Robert Rumbelow, Director of Bands at Columbus State University in Georgia. A lot of times transcriptions don’t capture the integrity of the score, but that’s not true here. Because of the warmth of his scoring, the sound is more like an orchestra, very dark and rich.” Gephart adds.
The concert’s title comes from a medley of Broadway tunes performed by the Fall Concert Band, under the direction of M.T. “Mo’ Trout, called “That’s Entertainment.” It includes “Let Me Entertain You,” “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” “Send in the Clowns” among other tunes.
“Inferno,” a fiery Robert W. Smith work for band inspired by Dante’s Inferno, serves as the centerpiece of the Fall Concert Band’s portion of the concert. In Smith’s opening melodic statement the oboe represents the sins of “incontinence” and subsequent musical sections, following Dante’s text, address the sins of violence, hypocrisy and fraud.
Other pieces rounding out the concert include a Percy Grainger arrangement of the Irish folk tune “Danny Boy;” Norman Dello Joio’s “Scenes from The Louvre,” a musical journey through the famous Paris museum; and John Philip Sousa’s “Comrades of the Legion.”