Concert Preview (Part 2)

The year 1913:  The War to End All Wars was about to break out in Europe.  The United States would maintain its neutrality until almost the bitter end.  All while Karl King was writing circus marches.  A child named Nicodemo was born to Italian immigrants in New York City.  Surrounded by music at a young age, he would enter the Julliard School right before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Norman Dello Joio would go on to compose works for orchestra, wind band (10 compositions!), film scores, and other media.  He would win the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1957.  He won an Emmy for his television score, “The Louvre” (1964), a work later arranged for winds.

On Sunday the QCWE will play Dello Joio’s Satiric Dances, written for the city of Concord, Massachusetts, in commemoration of April 19, 1775…a day that the “shot was heard ’round the world.”

Don’t miss Part 1 of our concert preview!

Concert Preview from Conductor Brian Hughes (part 1)

Born the same year as Norman Dello Joio and you’ve never heard of him, unless you are a denizen of the band world, or can read German. Oddly enough, his Wiki article is found in that language.  His name: Clare Ewing Grundman and he’s as American as American can be.

He created works for radio, television, ballets, musicals, and films, but his anonymity is due to the fact that Grundman spent most of his lifetime writing for the wind band.  The Grundman Archive at Ohio State University is undoubtedly awaiting some researcher to discover its treasures.

There appears to be no extant recording of Grundman’s delightful work, The Black Knight. That will be remedied soon.

October 20, 2013–mark your calendars

Fall Concert Sunday, October 20th!

The 28th season of the Quad City Wind Ensemble kicks off with our Fall Concert on Sunday, October 20th at 3:00pm.  Conducted by Brian L. Hughes, the concert will include a performance of Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, featuring narration by Kai Swanson.

Works by Karl King, Giuseppe Verdi, and Richard Wagner will also be performed.  The concert will immediately be followed by a reception with free refreshments and homemade treats.  Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and FREE for all students through 12th grade.  Click here to view the concert poster with additional details.

2013-2014 QCWE Season Announced

The Quad City Wind Ensemble has announced that four full concerts will be produced during the 2013-2014 season.  The season will include a Holiday Concert in addition to the regular Fall, Winter, and Spring concerts.  In making the announcement, QCWE Board President Jeremy Hill noted that, “We received excellent reviews last year for our Holiday Concert, and QCWE members had such a great time playing, that the Holiday Concert was a must.  That concert will have a similar format to last year, as we will share the stage with our friends and colleagues of the Big River Brass Band.”  Hill also noted that new this year is a Saturday evening concert in the Spring, as part of the QCWE’s commitment to seeking new ways to reach audiences.  Admission for all concerts (Holiday concert excepted) will remain $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and free admission for all students through 12th grade.

Details including dates and times can be found on the Concerts page of the QCWE website, or by visiting www.qcwindensemble.org

April 28th Concert Notes (part 3)

Catch up with part 1 here and part 2 here.

Read below for the conclusion of our 3 part series about April 28th’s repertoire from conductor Brian Hughes.

The death of John Barnes Chance–accidentally electrocuted before his 40th birthday–was among the greatest losses to the band world.  It seems as though everything he wrote for winds is landmark and possibly none more so than Incantation and Dance, amazingly enough his very first piece for the medium.

Arkansas native Steven Bryant studied with McBeth at Ouachita Baptist University before moving onto the Julliard School.  He is part of a growing number of contemporary composers aligning with Hanson’s vision that the wind band medium is probably more viable than the orchestra.  First Light, a hauntingly beautiful depiction of the sunrise over an Italian village, is among his most evocative works.

The program also includes the winner of the Charles B. DCamp Scholarship, Caitlin Thom, a student at Pleasant Valley High School.  She rose to the top over the largest number of entrants in recent memory and will be presenting the thrilling third movement of Eric Ewazen’s Marimba Concerto.

To close the performance, we come full circle to Francis McBeth’s transcription of Howard Hanson’s famous Symphony No. 2, “Romantic.”  This work has become known as the “Interlochen Theme” as it closes all summer concerts at the famed music school.

This concert promises to be another in a line of outstanding performances by the 2012 American Prize Winning Quad City Wind Ensemble.

Join us Sunday, April 28th at 3:00pm at Allaert Hall, Galvin Fine Arts Center, St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa.  Tickets are $10 for Adults, $8 for Seniors, and Students high school and under receive FREE admission.

April 28th Concert Notes (part 2)

We continue with more information from conductor Brian Hughes about April 28th’s repertoire.  Catch up with Part 1 here.

Lawrence Weiner is the least known of Hanson’s disciples, having written only a handful of works; in actuality, I know of only two, including his lovely Air for Band.  As lyrical as Frank Erickson’s composition of the same name, it is more interesting harmonically.  I have recently discovered that this little gem has been released by TRN Music.  I hope it finds a place in the band repertoire.Next comes the part of the lineage that sprang forth as students of Clifton Williams.

Francis McBeth studied with Williams at the University of Texas, earning his master’s degree in 1957.  He would also spend time with his compositional “grandfather” at the Eastman School.  McBeth felt that his work Through Countless Halls of Air, composed for the US Air Force Band, firmly encapsulated his style and was, therefore his favorite piece. This is virtuosic music of the highest order with challenges for each player in the ensemble.

…stay tuned for part 3 next week!

April 28th Concert Notes (Part 1)

Over the next 3 weeks, we will be including notes from conductor Brian Hughes regarding the pieces that will be performed April 28th.  Enjoy!

In 1998, NBC journalist Tom Brokaw wrote of those who have lived through the era of the Second World War, those he called the greatest generation.  “At the end of the twentieth century the contributions of this generation would be in bold print in any review of this turbulent and earth-altering time. It may be historically premature to judge the greatness of a whole generation, but indisputably, there are common traits that cannot be denied. It is a generation that, by and large, made no demands of homage from those who followed and prospered economically, politically, and culturally because of its sacrifices. It is a generation of towering achievement and modest demeanor, a legacy of their formative years when they were participants in and witness to sacrifices of the highest order. They know how many of the best of their generation didn’t make it to their early twenties, how many brilliant scientists, teachers, spiritual and business leaders, politicians and artists were lost in the ravages of the greatest war the world has seen.”

If I am allowed to editorialize, the wind band movement has its own greatest generation, those composers who actually are closely aligned with Brokaw’s assessment.  These are composers whose achievements, had they not chosen to focus on works for the wind band, might be better known.  Still, we owe each of them a debt of gratitude for sharing their time, talents, and compositions with us.

The upcoming concert of the Quad City Wind Ensemble pays homage to these significant contributors to our medium.

Howard Hanson, longtime faculty member of the Eastman School, is the earliest member of this lineage and he penned several works for band, the most well known of which is Chorale and Alleluia.  Our program opens with Hanson’s Centennial March, written for the 100th anniversary of his home state’s (Nebraska) admittance into the union.  We are pleased to resurrect this long out-of-print work.

It was Howard Hanson who led Clifton Williams to write for the wind band rather than the orchestra, counseling Williams that he would get larger audiences and a larger range of organizations to perform his music in doing so.  We offer Williams final work, written literally on his deathbed, Caccia and Chorale.

….to be continued next week!

Young Performer’s Audition Winners Announced

Winners of the 2013 Charles B. DCamp Young Performers’ Audition, sponsored by the Quad City Wind Ensemble, were announced by Jeremy Hill, Chairperson of the event.  Chosen from thirteen auditioners, the three winners were:

  1. Caitlin Thom, Marimba.  Pleasant Valley Junior
  2. Kayla Jackson, Flute.  Rock Island Senior
  3. Gabrielle Hartman, Bassoon.  Muscatine Freshman

First Place recipient Caitlin Thom, marimba, will appear as guest soloist on the April 28, 2013 Quad City Wind Ensemble spring concert.  In addition to Miss Thom’s guest performance, all three winners will receive a scholarship for private study.  First place receives a $250 scholarship, second place winner Kayla Jackson, flute, will receive a $150 scholarship, and third place winner Gabrielle Hartman, bassoon, will receive a $100 scholarship.