Sunday, January 23, 2011

From Pineapple Poll to Golden Bear: North Coast Wind Ensemble

At 8 PM on Sunday January 23 in Fulkerson Recital Hall, the North Coast Wind Ensemble returns for its third season with a concert featuring Pineapple Polly, a Golden Bear, sea songs, Elsa’ s Procession, a Children’s March and Noisy Wheels of Joy.

The Wind Ensemble is a North Coast community group organized in 2009 by Heather Benson and its first and current conductor, Kenneth Ayoob. Members include Eureka Symphony players, university and high school teachers and HSU Music graduates.

The program of band favorites on January 23 includes the buoyant Suite from Pineapple Poll (short for Polly), a show that adapts music by Arthur Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan fame.

The rollicking Sea Songs by Ralph Vaughn Williams combines three nautical melodies from the British isles. The sea was a theme that the prominent 20th century British composer returned to several times.

There’s a traditional British Isles feeling as well to Mannin Veen by another 20th century British composer, Haydn Wood. The title of this lilting tone poem refers to the Isle of Man in its ancient Manx language.

The soaring Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral is an instrumental piece from Richard Wagner’s epic opera Lohengrin. The raucous Noisy Wheels of Joy by contemporary American composer Eric Whitacre is a favorite with players and audiences.

No wind band concert is complete without marches and this program includes two--both by foreign-born composers who relocated to the U.S. The playful Children’s March, subtitled “Over the Hills and Far Away” is by 20th century composer Percy Grainger, who wrote and dedicated this piece to a childhood friend. Born in Australia, Grainger lived in various parts of the U.S.

The Golden Bear March is by Joseph John Richards, who first gained fame with his marches written for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus bands. Born in Wales and raised in Kansas, he became a well-known conductor and teacher in southern California.

North Coast Wind Ensemble performs on Sunday January 23 at 8 PM in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $5/$2 from HSU Box Office (826-3928) or at the door. Directed by Kenneth Ayoob, produced by HSU Music Department.

Media: Humboldt State Now, Arcata Eye, North Coast Journal

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