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Zion Park inspires piece on Feb. 20 ‘Windworks’
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Dynamic works for wind band, from 19th century composers like John Philip Sousa to 21st century composers like Philip Sparke, fill Purdue Bands’ Windworks concert at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20 in the Long Center, 111 N. Sixth St., Lafayette.
The event features University and Collegiate bands, directed by Ishbah Cox, and Varsity Band, directed by Pamela Nave.
University Band opens the evening with pieces inspired by national parks and individual dreams. Highlighting its section of the performance is a medley of tunes from the Broadway musical Dreamgirls, Vaclaw Nelhybel’s “Festivo” and a Steven Reineke piece titled “In the Temple of Zion.”
Reineke felt compelled to create a musical description of Zion National Park in Utah following a visit there in 1996. “It is a musical depiction of the natural solitude and awe inspiring beauty that I discovered there. The experience provided fond memories which included a hiking excursion through the cliffs and canyons on the Virgin River Trail,” the composer says.
“Festivo” is one of the best known works by Nelhybel, a Czech composer who enjoyed a successful career in the United States. He described it as “an overture-type composition in which the woodwinds and the brasses are constantly confronting each other like two antagonists in a dramatic scene.”
When Varsity Band takes the stage, it will perform “Burst” by Sean O’Loughlin, an arrangement of the Irish tune “Danny Boy” by Warren Barker and “RUSH” by Samuel Hazo.
Written as a follow-up to his wildly successful composition “Ride,” Hazo’s “RUSH” was commissioned by the Wenger Corporation and premiered at the 2006 Midwest Clinic in Chicago. Like its predecessor, “Rush” is an exhilarating display of rhythmic intensity, featuring shifting meters and dynamic wind band scoring.
In the same mood, O’Loughlin’s “Burst,” a continuous explosion of brassy fanfares, swirling woodwinds, and bombastic percussion, promises musical fireworks.
The evening draws to a close with Collegiate Band which opens its set with “The Pathfinder of Panama” written by John Philip Sousa to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal. It was first performed by the Sousa Band at the 1915 Panama-Pacific exposition held in San Francisco, CA.
The set also features Twana Harris, Director of the Black Voices of Inspiration at Purdue, singing the Hoagy Carmichael classic “Stardust.” Carmichael was a law student at Indiana University when he wrote the piece at Bloomington’s Book Nook on an old upright piano. When Carmichael’s band first performed “Stardust” in 1927 it was a peppy jazz instrumental, but later arrangements turned it into the ballad familiar to today’s music lovers.
The band also spotlights one of the 21st century’s most prolific composers, Philip Sparke, with his celebratory, fanfare-style overture for brass band titled “Jubilee Overture.”
University, Varsity and Collegiate Bands will next be heard in concert at the Purdue Bands Showcase II in Elliott Hall of Music at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 25.
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