Soaring music fills Purdue Bands' Oct. 5
‘Visions of Flight’
Purdue’s Symphonic and Fall Concert Bands link the energy of songs
written about flight with the natural ability of musical notes to soar,
the result is a dynamic tribute to 100 years of manned flight at their
Oct. 5 “Visions of Flight” concert.
The free concert is set for 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, in the Long Center,
111 N. Sixth St. It is part of Homecoming festivities and Purdue’s
campus-wide celebration of 100 years of flight.
“Cloudsplitter Fanfare,” “Aces of the Air,”
“Fantasy of Flight” and the title work “Visions of
Flight” are among a dozen works selected by Symphonic Band director
Jay Gephart for the groups to perform.
It wasn’t an easy choice, Gephart says. “Because of the
Air Force Band in Washington D.C. and base bands who commission works,
there is such a wealth of music about flight out there.”
Gephart focused on selecting tunes that would give Purdue’s student
musicians and the audience a variety of experiences. “Aces of
the Air” is a seldom-performed Karl King march with roots in war
atmosphere of 1942.
In a completely different vein, arranger Robert W. Smith took various
themes from John Williams’ movie music and combined them together
for a fantasy flight that ranges from a ride on a spaceship in Star
Wars, to a ride on an air-born bicycle with E.T. and a ride on Harry
Potter’s quidich broom.
Each band opens its portion of the concert with a different version
of “Cloudsplitter Fanfare.”
“Both are exciting but they are radically different,” Gephart
says. Fall Concert Band, under the direction of Boyd Loughrige, performs
the more tuneful Carl Strommen version. Symphonic Band offers Jack Stamp’s
version “which is much more metallic and almost industrial. It’s
a virtuostic piece, written for the Air Force Band, with a lot of flourishes
for the woodwinds.”
The Fall Concert Band performs the concert’s title piece, “Visions
of Flight” by Robert Sheldon. Gephart says it has the flavor of
movie music even through it has no relation to the big screen.
“It represents the soaring nature of flight,” he says. “It’s
easy to close your eyes and visualize flight from the perspective of
a pilot and what it’s like to be behind the controls of a supersonic
jet.” So there’s power but at the same time serenity, Gephart
says. “In the middle of the piece there’s a serenity that
you only get by being up in the sky by yourself, a sense of peacefulness.”
Among the other pieces on the program are Robert Jager’s “Lord,
Guard and Guide,” built around the first four word of the Air
Force Hymn, and W. Francis McBeth’s “Through Countless Halls
of Air,” inspired by historic moments in flight from the Greek
god Icarus who flew too near the sun and melted his wax wings to the
Wright brothers flight at Kitty Hawk.
The Purdue Symphonic Band and Fall Concert Band will next perform at
2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23, at the Long Center.