Saturday, October 16, 2010

Impress Your Family with the Symphonic Band and Jazz Orchestra

Just in time for Homecoming and Family Weekend, the HSU Symphonic Band and Jazz Orchestra share the first (mostly) student concert of the school year on October 16 in the Fulkerson Recital Hall.

The Symphonic Band directed by Dr. Kenneth Ayoob features the dynamic suite adapted for band and brass quintet from Leonard Bernstein’s epic Mass, which Jacqueline Kennedy commissioned for the opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. The Humboldt Bay Brass Quintet led by Dr. Gilbert Cline joins the Symphonic Band for this striking work. Composer of West Side Story as well as orchestral pieces, Bernstein used multi-cultural and popular influences to energize his music.

Also on the Band’s program is the popular Undertow by the very young contemporary composer John Mackey (he just turned 21.) “It’s an exciting overture,” said Dr. Ayoob. “It has an infectious bass line and a compelling melody.” Mackey’s music has been hailed by the New York Times as “a terse, powerful explosion of transformative energy.”

Then in what Dr. Ayoob calls a “spectacular and brilliant composition” ideally suited to the Symphonic Band, there’s music to accompany a marching army in an excerpt from a work by French composer Hector Berlioz.

The Band’s final piece is Variations on a Korean Folk Song, a short but important work by American composer John Barnes Chance, based on melodies he heard while serving in the U.S. Army in Korea. There are five variations with different tempos and moods, with a powerful ending.

Then after the break the Jazz Orchestra directed by Dan Aldag takes the audience on a couple of train rides—on a fast New York subway in “GG Train” by Charles Mingus, and a more leisurely romp through the South on Duke Ellington’s “Happy-Go-Lucky-Local.”

The Orchestra also plays one of Ellington’s best-known melodies, “Mood Indigo,” but in a new arrangement by contemporary composer and jazz bassist John Clayton—one of three tunes by jazz greats with new arrangements. The others are Charlie Parker’s bebop classic “Anthropology” as arranged by Seattle saxophonist Mark Taylor, and Jimmy Heath’s “Gingerbread Boy,” with an arrangement reminiscent of New Orleans jazz by saxophonist Mike Tomaro.

The Jazz Orchestra completes its set and the evening with some actual old school New Orleans jazz: Jelly Roll Morton’s “Black Bottom Stomp.”

The HSU Symphonic Band and Jazz Orchestra perform on Saturday October 16 at 8 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $7 general, $3 students/seniors, from the HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. Free to HSU students with ID. Symphonic Band directed by Kenneth Ayoob, Jazz Orchestra directed by Dan Aldag, produced by HSU Music Department.

Media: Humboldt State Now, Arcata Eye.

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