Saturday, October 20, 2012

Old Homecoming Days with the Symphonic Band and Jazz Orchestra

The HSU Symphonic Band celebrates home and family for Homecoming and Family Weekend in a joint concert with the Jazz Orchestra on Saturday October 20 in Fulkerson Recital Hall.

The Symphonic Band features Old Home Days, a suite by American composer Charles Ives that fondly recalls his childhood home in Connecticut.  “It has a lot of variety,” said conductor Paul Cummings, “including a slow movement that’s based on one of Ives’ first compositions—a memorial he wrote as a teenager for the family dog.”  There’s also an upbeat evocation of two marching bands playing different tunes as they pass by in a parade.  “Besides suggesting a childhood experience,” Cummings said, “this is an important part of Ives’ musical aesthetic: taking it all in, rather than just the neat and tidy sounds.”

The American nostalgia theme continues with a movement from Robert Russell Bennett’s Suite of Old American Dances that suggests the changing popular music of the early 20th century in a waltz flavored with Ragtime. “It’s got a beautiful lightness to it,” Cummings said. Bennett is best known for arranging many of the classic 1940s to 60s Broadway shows, from Showboat to Camelot. "He really knew how to write for a pit orchestra, and his concert band pieces are great," Cummings said. 

The band also plays Footsteps by Dana Wilson, the Pentland Hills march by James Howe and Homage to Perotin by Ron Nelson—“a very exciting piece that really features the brass.  We have terrific brass and percussion sections this year, so we want to show them off,” Cummings said.

The HSU Jazz Orchestra plays the other half of the program, which includes a Mike Tomaro arrangement of “I Mean You” by Thelonious Monk, as well as tunes by Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson and Freddie Hubbard.  The ensemble, directed by Dan Aldag, also plays an original piece composed collectively in the 1930s Count Basie Orchestra tradition.  

The HSU Symphonic Band and Jazz Orchestra perform on Saturday October 20 at 8 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets: $7/$3/free to HSU students with i.d. from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door.  Produced by the HSU Music Department. 

Media: Arcata Eye, Tri-City Weekly, Humboldt State Now.

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