JONESBORO – The Arkansas State University Wind Ensemble will begin its 2016-2017 Concert Season on Thursday, Sept. 29, at 7:30 p.m. in Fowler Center, Riceland Hall. Tickets are $5 for the general public, and students are admitted free with their ID.
The theme of the concert is “Loss.” Dr. Timothy Oliver, director of bands and Wind Ensemble conductor said, “The idea for this concert theme came to me over the summer when my 14-year-old son remarked that he couldn’t remember seeing the flags at half-staff for so long,” because of police shootings and terrorist attacks. Oliver notes that, “Music has an incredible power to affect human beings, especially during times of loss. Music can provide comfort and release during our grief, and hope as we heal and move forward.” While each piece on this program deals with various types of loss, there is also an underlying message of hope and optimism.
The concert opens with “Postcard,” by Frank Ticheli, a piece commissioned by H. Robert Reynolds, longtime director of bands at the University of Michigan, in memory of his mother, Ethel Virginia Curry. Reynolds requested that Ticheli compose a short energetic piece celebrating her life. Ticheli’s response was this brief “postcard” as a musical reflection of her character.
Richard Wagner composed the second piece on the program in 1844, 18 years after the death and burial of German composer Carl Maria von Weber in London. Increased German nationalism resulted in the exhumation and return of Weber’s remains to his native country. Wagner composed “Trauermusik” for the torch-light procession to Weber’s final resting place, the Catholic Cemetery in Friedrichstadt. Wagner transcribed Weber’s music from his opera, “Euranthe,” for the occasion. The music itself is arranged to suit the slow pace and 2.5-mile length of the procession.
“Testament: Music for a Time of Trial” was composed after our nation experienced the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. According to the composer, David Maslanka, the opening half is a vigorous and powerful assertion of living force which rises to an explosive shriek, while the second half is hopeful and suggests we can remain hopeful, we can forgive, and we can be transformed.
The A-State Wind Ensemble was one of 38 groups to join a commissioning consortium for the next piece, “Of Our New Day Begun.” Acclaimed jazz composer Omar Thomas wrote this work to honor the nine individuals who lost their lives to an act of hatred on the evening of June 17, 2015, while worshiping in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. The themes and ideas for this piece are rooted in the James and John Johnson’s song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known endearingly as the “Negro National Anthem.” Blues melodies and harmonies, singing, stomping and clapping are also prominent features of the work.
Noted wind band conductor Frederick Fennell commissioned the final piece, “Morning Alleluias for The Winter Solstice” by Ron Nelson. While visiting Hiroshima Japan, Fennell awoke one morning in a hotel room ablaze with brilliant morning sunlight. Fennell realized again the power music has to celebrate triumph over adversity, as demonstrated by the people of Hiroshima.
For more details about A-State music concerts, one may contact the Music Department at (870) 972-2094.
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This and other news releases also available at: AState.edu/news