Friday, December 03, 2010

A Christmas Festival with the HSU Symphonic Band

At the climax of its December 3 concert, the HSU Symphonic Band reveals again the full if often hidden power of some classic Christmas songs with Leroy Anderson’s vibrant collage called A Christmas Festival.

“When Anderson arranged this in 1950, it was a new idea,” said Symphonic Band director Kenneth Ayoob. “Many composers have set Christmas music for band since then, but none are better than this—the granddaddy of them all.”

This work completes a varied program of suites, dances and a march by an intriguing mix of composers.

Early 20th century English composer Gustav Holst uses English folk songs and dances in his Second Suite for Military Band. Director Ayoob calls it “one of the keystone works of the band literature” and “a joy to play and to hear.” Dutch composer Jan Van der Roost’s Puszta is another suite that uses a folk tradition in four original Gypsy dances.

American composer Caesar Giovonnini focuses his attention on modern urban life in the concert overture Jubilance, which Ayoob describes as “by nature a sunny and optimistic work.” Sinfonia III by Timothy Broege, a contemporary midwestern U.S. composer, adds shadows to light in a tribute to the composer’s late father.

American composer Henry Fillmore is best known for his marches, and “His Honor” remains among his most popular.

The HSU Symphonic Band performs on Friday December 3 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. Directed by Kenneth Ayoob, produced by the HSU Music Department.

Media: Humboldt State Now, Arcata Eye, North Coast Journal Christmas Events, Humboldt Beacon.

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