Three concerts end Purdue Bands’ season in a flurry of music
Monday, April 14, 2008
Putting a slam-bang finish on its 2007-08 concert season, Purdue Bands pulls out all the stops for an April 18-20 weekend of music that begins with Showcase concerts featuring Purdue’s orchestra, symphonic band, and concert bands in Elliott Hall of Music and concludes with a Sunday afternoon jazz concert outdoors at Slayter Center.
Each of the three free concerts offers special attractions topped by the appearance of guest composer and conductor Philip Sparke. Original compositions written and conducted by Sparke, who has written for brass band championships in New Zealand, Switzerland, Holland, Australia and the United Kingdom, will highlight the 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 18, Showcase I concert featuring University Band, Purdue Symphonic Band and the Purdue Symphony Orchestra. Sparke’s works will also be featured at the 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 19, Showcase II concert.
Both concerts will be held in Elliott Hall of Music. Admission to each concert is free.
To ensure warmer temperatures for Purdue Bands’ annual ”Jazz on the Hill” concert, it is being moved from its usual Friday night time slot to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 20, at Slayter Center. All four of the department’s jazz bands will be featured in a “Kenton Kollage.” The outdoor concert features a wide variety of tunes by Stan Kenton.
A talented pianist, Kenton led a highly innovative, influential jazz orchestra from that evolved with the times from the 1940s through the 1960s his own band. In the 1940s, his band was the best-known of the West Coast ensembles and popularized the Kenton style known as “The Wall of Sound.” He went through a swing period in the 1950s and experimented successfully with a mellophonium band, winning Grammy awards in 1962 and 1963 for “Adventures in Jazz” and “West Side Story.”
The weekend officially kicks off with Showcase I which not only offers concert-goers a chance to hear works by Philip Sparke but also an opportunity to hear Sudler Prize-winning clarinetist Andrew Keller of Hagerstown, IN, perform Villa-Lobos “Fantasia” with the Purdue Symphony Orchestra.
The Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts is an honor given to Purdue’s top senior in the arts as determined by a campus-wide competition. Keller is the fifth band member is six years to win the distinction.
The orchestra, conducted by Andrew King, will also perform “Symphonic Dances” from the Broadway musical West Side Story on the concert.
Sparke tunes on Showcase I include “An English Sea Song Suite” performed by University Band under the direction of Jessica Beall, and “Invictus” performed by Jay Gephart’s Purdue Symphonic Band.
Gephart’s ensemble also presents Alfred Reed’s “El Camino Real,” Vittorio Giannini’s ‘Finale” from Symphony No. 3 for Band. It will pay tribute to the memory of Professor Bands Emeritus Bill Moffit with “Blessed Are They” from a Brahms’ requium. Moffit, who led the marching band at Purdue from 1981-88, died March 5.
At 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 19, the Varsity, Collegiate and Purdue Concert Bands take the stage at Elliott with more Sparke tunes.
“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 Kathy Matter, Public Relations Director. Throughout the day on Friday and Saturday, all of Purdue’s concert bands rehearse with Sparke to polish several of his original works for presentation to the public.
Varsity Band, under the direction of Pamela Nave, tackles Sparke’s “Valerius Variations.” The band also performs Daniel Buckvich’s playful “Hymn of St. Francis” which contains movements dedicated to seagulls, bees, rattlesnakes and other assorted wildlife. A Brass Quintet from the band performs The Beatles hit “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da.”
Collegiate Band, directed by Andrew King, offers works by Percy Grainger and Richard Saucedo and Julie Giroux to compliment Sparke’s “Symphonic Metamorphosis” on themes from Saint Saens’ Third Symphony.
Concluding the concert the Purdue Concert Band performs Sparke’s “Sunrise at Angel’s Gate.” Directed by Max Jones, the band will also perform “Serenade, Op. 22” by Derek Bourgeois and “Chaos Theory,” a concerto for electric guitar and wind orchestra by James Bonney.
The weekend of concerts brings the 2007-08 mainstage performing season of Purdue Bands & Orchestra to a close. Two chamber music recitals remain. The first will occur at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, in Fowler Hall of the Purdue Stewart Center and the second at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 26 in University Church.
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