Renowned tubist Patrick Sheridan solos with Symphonic Band
There's an atmosphere of "anything goes" whenever world-renowned tubist Patrick Sheridan takes the stage as he will for a concert with the Purdue Symphonic Band on Sunday, Feb. 22.
It's an atmosphere Sheridan cultivates in many ways from his insistence on mixing pop pieces into a repertoire stocked with demanding classical works, to the way he depicts himself on CD covers. Where other classical musicians stick to pictures in tuxes and bow ties, Sheridan will appear in a bumblebee suit, or sporting a goofy grin with bon bons on his head.
That sense of humor reflects Sheridan's approach to music. "He's on the cutting edge of experimentation and not afraid to play anything on the tuba," says Jay Gephart, director of the Purdue Symphonic Band, who's looking forward to the concert set for 2:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Long Center, 111 N. Sixth St., Lafayette.
Admission is free. The doubleheader event also features the Purdue Symphony Orchestra under Gephart's direction.
Sheridan's appearance with the Symphonic Band offers audiences the chance to see both his light-hearted and serious sides. "His technique is incredible and he's become the most virtuostic tuba in the world,' Gephart says. That talent will be showcased in Ellerby's Tuba Concerto, a challenging piece that tests a tubist's range as it runs from extremely high notes to very low ones.
"Pat plays on a Bessen E Flat tuba which enables him to play in the high range freely," says Gephart. In a more light-hearted vein Sheridan will tackle the piccolo solo in Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" and a special encore is in the works.
Other highlights from the Symphonic Band's portion of the show are Percy Grainger's Colonial Song," guest conducted by David Leppla, head of the Department of University Bands, and Alfred Reed's "El Camino Real."
In "El Camino Real," or "The King's Highway," "Reed take Spanish flamenco style and translates it into a beautiful composition for band. It's one of my favorite compositions," Gephart says.
The Symphony Orchestra offers audiences pieces by Morton Gould, Sergei Prokofiev, Ottorino Respighi and Nino Rota.
Rota's Concerto for Trombone features another guest soloist, Indiana University doctoral student Jonathan Whitaker. The concerto is considered one of the standards in trombone literature. "Rota as a composer is able to reflect the powerful character of the trombone in the first and third movements and draw upon the beauty of its tone in the second. At times there are trombone fireworks and explosions of notes happening all over the place," Gephart says.The orchestra's opening and closing tunes both have marching elements. "American Salute" by Gould is built around "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," while Respighi's "Pines of the Appian Way" musically describes the triumphant march, complete with fanfares, of soldiers into Rome.