Christmas, lamentation, October air and memory will express themselves musically at Fort Hays State University’s first concert in December.
The Symphonic Winds and the Wind Ensemble will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center.
The Symphonic Winds, directed by Dr. Lane Weaver, assistant professor of music and theatre, will open with “Fanfare on Adeste Fidelis” by Jim Colanna. Dr. Jeff Jordan, associate professor of music and theatre, called “Fanfare” a “brisk work utilizing the familiar Christmas tune.”
Next, the Symphonic Winds will play “Trail of Tears” composed by James Barnes. Jordan called “Trail of Tears” a “tone poem” which describes the march of the Five Civilized Indian tribes from the Atlantic states to Oklahoma in the winter of 1838-39. “Federal troops rounded up members of the Five Civilized Indian tribes and marched them through the dead of winter,” said Jordan. “On this journey, more than 4,000 Native Americans perished from starvation, exhaustion and exposure to the elements.”
“The mood of this piece depicts the non-aggressive nature of the tribes, the march and the agony of loss. In the dramatic finale section, the members of the band recite a mournful poem in the Cherokee language,” said Jordan.
Following “Trails of Tears,” the Symphonic Winds will play “On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss,” a composition based on the familiar hymn “It is Well With My Soul.” Composer David Holsinger “has constructed a deeply reflective and emotional work emphasizing the lyrical capabilities of the modern concert band,” said Jordan.
“Second Suite in F for Military Band” by Gustav Holst will close the Symphonic Winds portion of the concert. Holst is known as “the wind band’s first great champion among composers of the first rank.”
“The ‘Second Suite’ employs combinations of English folk songs and dance tunes. The song tells the story of a young girl driven mad in grief as her lover is sent off to sea by his parents,” said Jordan.
For the second half of the concert, Jordan will conduct the Wind Ensemble in a variety of pieces, opening with “Downey Overture” by Oscar Navarro. Navarro described his piece as “an amalgam of rhythm and musical color wrapped in an atmosphere of dance.”
Next is “An Original Suite” by Gordon Jacob. “The suite is in three movements and begins with ‘March,’ which includes four themes introduced by a snare-drum solo,” said Jordan. “The ‘Intermezzo’ features a lyrical solo for alto saxophone while the brisk ‘Finale’ is reminiscent of the first movement.”
Following the suite, the ensemble will play “October” by Eric Whitacre. The “crisp autumn air” and the “subtle change in light” during October inspired Whitacre, who wrote of the inspiration for the piece: “The simple pastoral melodies and subsequent harmonies are inspired by the great English romantics as I felt that this style was perfectly suited to capture the natural and pastoral soul of the season.”
The ensemble will close with “Ride” by Sam Hazo. Hazo was inspired to write “Ride” in honor of Jack Stamp, conductor, composer and educator. Hazo said “’Ride’ was written and titled for that exact moment in my life when Jack Stamp’s generosity and lead foot were as equal in their inspiration as the beautiful Indiana, Pa., countryside blurring past my car window.”
Tickets for adults are $6; senior citizens and students 12 and over are $4; children 11 and under and FHSU students with I.D. are free. To purchase tickets, contact the Department of Music and Theatre at 785-628-4533.