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Symphonic and Fall Concert Bands to perform “Theatre Music”
Friday, November 9, 2007
Raise the curtains, it’s time for “Theatre Music” when the Purdue Symphonic Band and Fall Concert Band take the Long Center stage on Sunday, Nov. 18.
The free concert, set for 2:30 p.m. at the Long Center, 111 N. 6th St., is presented by Purdue Bands & Orchestra.
From presentations of movie music to opera to classical works that capture emotion, the concert will be filled with different musical interpretations of drama.
Fall Concert Band, under the direction of Andrew King, opens the program with two medleys from popular films. One focuses on the Wizard of Oz with refrains of “I’m Off to See the Wizard” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” among others. The second is a combination of various themes used in Star Trek movies and TV episodes.
Moving to a more operatic vein, the band will perform themes from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Originally conceived an American folk opera, Porgy and Bess incorporates a wealth of blues and jazz idioms into the classical art form of opera.
Serious opera is represented by “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral” from Lohengrin by Richard Wagner. Emotions ranging from grief to happiness run through the piece that features a noble theme which begins quietly and builds to a dramatic conclusion.
The Purdue Symphonic Band, under the direction of Jay S. Gephart, presents the concert’s title work, “Theatre Music” by Philip Sparke on the concert’s second half.
Symphonic Band plays the “Finale” movement from “Theatre Music.” Sparke’s composition “is not at all Broadway,” Gephart says. “But there is a continuous change of character in the piece. At times it’s lyrical and light-hearted, and at times it’s just really driving.”
Drama enters the concert’s second half in Dan Welcher’s “Zion,” which won the ABA/Ostwald Prize in 1996. “It’s probably the greatest piece I’ve ever programmed,” says Gephart. “It’s incredibly powerful.” The piece is inspired by the grandeur of the national park named Zion and the struggles of the early settlers living in the area.
“Zion is a place with unrivalled natural grandeur, being a sort of huge box canyon in which the traveler is constantly overwhelmed by towering rock walls on every side, but it is also a place with a human history,” says Dan Welcher of his prize-winning piece.
The composer selected 19th century hymn tunes from the same songbook used by Aaron Copeland in many of his compositions. The adapted hymn tunes represent human history in the piece and pay tribute to the religious fervor of persecuted Mormons who settled at Zion.
The Symphonic Band completes its concert with a march, “His Excellency” by Henry Fillmore, “Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song” by Samuel Hazo and the introduction of a new piece by retired high school teacher and currently assistant principal Dennis Reaser, a friend and colleague of Gephart’s. The piece is titled “Un Tributo Para Siempre” or “A Teacher’s Tribute to a Student Gone But Not Forgotten.
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