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UK Wind Symphony featuring works by Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky in ‘Symphonic Dances’ performance

The 2017-18 season of the University of Kentucky Bands is in full swing with several performances happening in the coming week, including the UK Wind Symphony concert on Oct. 22 and the UK Symphony Band concert with Madison Middle School Band on Oct. 23.

The UK Wind Symphony will perform “Symphonic Dances” 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, at the Singletary Center for the Arts, with selections from Igor Stravinsky, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Leonard Bernstein and modern composers like John Mackey and Donald Grantham.

Director of Bands John Cody Birdwell will conduct the band through a variety of selections including Grantham’s “J.S. Dances,” a fantasy based on Johann Sebastian Bach’s Menuet II and Gigue from Partita no. 1. Joining the band for the Grantham performance will be the School of Music’s new collaborative piano professor, Jacob Coleman.

Following that a different style of dance will be conveyed in Mackey’s “Redline Tango,” a heart-pounding selection depicting simultaneously the redlining of an engine and a sultry tango.

The signature offering on this Sunday’s program will be from Bernstein’s much-lauded musical “West Side Story” with Paul Lavender’s arrangement: “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.” Audience members will be able to hear “West Side Story” favorites including “Cool,” “Somewhere,” “Maria” and “Mambo.”

Guest conductors will lead the band through several other dance selections. Logan Blackman, UK Wind Symphony bassoonist and conducting student, will direct Tchaikovsky’s energetic “Dance of the Jesters” from the ballet “The Snow Maidens.”

In his second season with the UK Bands program, conducting doctoral student Blake Garcia will direct “Circus Polka” by Stravinsky. The unbalanced, tongue-in-cheek polka was composed in 1942 for Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus and originally debuted with choreography for 50 ballerinas and 50 elephants.

The UK Wind Symphony consists of the finest wind and percussion graduate and undergraduate students in the nationally recognized UK School of Music. As the centerpiece of a band program that has served the Commonwealth of Kentucky for over 100 years, UK Wind Symphony continues a rich tradition of performing the finest traditional and contemporary compositions in the concert band/chamber winds repertoire.

The ensemble has been invited to perform at many of the most prestigious events in the college band profession, including recent appearances at College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) National Conferences. UK Wind Symphony has also been recently invited to perform at several CBDNA Southern Division Conferences and at the annual conference of the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA), held annually in Louisville.

The UK Wind Symphony concert will begin 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, in the Singletary Center Concert Hall. General admission tickets for this concert are $10, and student tickets are $5 tickets with ID. Tickets are available through the Singletary Center ticket office online at www.scfatickets.com, by phone at 859-257-4929, or in person at the venue.

The following evening, the UK Bands will present their second concert of the week, “Beautiful October,” featuring the UK Symphony Band and the musicians of the Madison Middle School Band from Richmond, Kentucky. This free public concert will begin 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23, at Singletary Center.

The UK Symphony Band concert will begin with performances by Madison Middle’s band conducted by its director, Kerry Evans. The young ensemble will perform several new and standard selections. “Irish Jig for Young Feet,” “The Water is Wide” and “Cyclone” will round out their portion of the program.

Following a brief intermission, the UK Symphony Band, under the direction of Conductor George Boulden, will perform. The band will begin with John Adams’ “Lollapalooza,” a riveting and complex work in minimalist style with wickedly challenging rhythmic concepts. This selection will be conducted by Kaitlin Bove in her conducting debut at UK. Bove, a former public school band director from California, is in her first year as a doctoral student in wind conducting.

The second selection, directed by Boulden, is Eric Whitacre’s hauntingly beautiful “October.” Guest conductor and assistant professor of music education at UK, Michael Hudson, will direct the ensemble for one of the great standards of wind repertoire, Gustav Holst’s Second Suite in F for Military Band in four movements. Boulden will conclude the program with “Everything Beautiful” and “Rakes of Mallow.”

The former work is a Samuel R. Hazo composition written in honor of influential Kentucky music educator Chuck Campbell, who passed away in 2011. The latter is a rousing jig from Leroy Anderson’s Irish Suite that pushes faster and faster to a rousing finish.

The university and middle school bands will close the concert together with Todd Stalter’s “Critical Mass” under the direction of Evans.

The UK Symphony Band is comprised of music majors and talented musicians from other majors across campus. Auditions are held each semester and the ensemble performs music for large and chamber ensembles. The UK Symphony Band has been showcased in multiple performances at the KMEA Conference over the last decade and played the 2005 Southern Division MENC/Florida Music Educators Association Conference in Tampa, Florida.

The UK School of Music in the UK College of Fine Arts has garnered national recognition for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, music therapy, composition, and theory and music history.

From UK Now

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