Three concerts end Purdue Bands’ season in a flurry of music
Putting a slam-bang finish on its 2004-05 concert season, Purdue Bands pulls out all the stops for an April 22-24 weekend of music that begins with Jazz on the Hill on Friday and continues with Concert Bands taking the spotlight at Elliott Hall on Saturday followed by the Purdue Orchestra and Symphonic Band there on Sunday.
Each of the three free concerts offers special attractions from community bands to guest directors to a performance by Purdue Concerto Competition winner and West Lafayette native Jennifer Iles.
Admission to each concert is free.
Following a long-standing tradition, the Purdue Bands Showcase begins by taking music outdoors through its annual Jazz on the Hill concert at Slayter Center.
“We look forward to pulling all our jazz bands together to put on the first outdoor concert of the spring. It’s a great way to kick off Grand Prix weekend with music and picnics on the grass,” says Purdue Bands publicist Kathy Matter.
This year Jazz on the Hill, which begins at 5 p.m. April 22, features an appearance by the Al Jones Big Swing Band from Lafayette. Several alums of Purdue’s jazz program will sit in with the band. The Purdue Jazz Band, recent winners of two “excellent” ratings at the North Texas Jazz Festival, will appear along with the Concert Jazz Band and Lab Jazz Band.
In case of rain, the concert will be moved to University Church at Grant and North Sts.
On Saturday and Sunday, April 23-24, concerts move to the Elliott Hall of Music stage. For these concerts tradition dictates the appearance of a guest conductor/composer. This year it’s Timothy Mahr, professor of music at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.
“Each spring, Greater Lafayette music lovers have the unique chance to hear a variety of pieces by a recognized American composer and our students get the rare opportunity of working one-on one with the man who wrote the music,” says Matter.
Throughout the day on Saturday, all of Purdue’s concert bands will meet with Mahr to polish several of his original works for presentation to the public.
At 8 p.m. April 23, the Varsity, Collegiate and Purdue Concert Bands take the stage at Elliott. Mahr works slated for presentation are “Day Dream,” “Hymn and Celebration” and “Everyman” which celebrates the diligent efforts and unsung accomplishments of the everyday hero.
A variety of other works round out the program. Varsity Band, directed by Pamela J. Nave, features Gustav’s “First Suite in E Flat for Military Band.” Collegiate Band, directed by William Kisinger, includes John Zdechlik’s “Chorale and Shaker Dance” and Gustav Holst’s “Moorside March.”
The Purdue Concert Band, directed by David Leppla, showcases two new works – “Symphonic Episodes” composed by Brian Balmages in 2004, and “Entourage” by John Tatgenhorst which was just completed in January 2005. Saturday’s performance will be the first public presentation of “Entourage” which opens with a rhythmic clapping section reminiscent of jazz guitarist Pat Metheny and combines piano and a jazz rhythm section with wind band.
On Sunday, April 24, the Purdue Symphonic Band will perform the final Timothy Mahr work, “Fantasia in G.” Other featured works include Percy Grainger’s “Country Gardens” and Joseph Spaniola’s “Escapade.”
Capping the weekend will be a solo performance by flutist Jennifer Iles who performs Charles T. Griffes “Poem for Flute and Orchestra” with the Purdue Symphony Orchestra. The Harrison High School graduate bested seven competitors to win Purdue Bands’ annual Concerto Competition in February, and earn the spotlight on the season finale concert. The senior liberal arts major says she chose the Griffes piece because she prefers works that are quiet and sweet and allow a lot of room for expression.
Among the orchestra’s other selections are “Raiders March” by John Williams and “Selections from Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber.