The 45-member West Virginia University Wind Symphony, a select group of the finest wind and percussion performers within the University, will go on tour this spring, presenting concerts in Morgantown, Charleston, and Charlotte, N.C., during April 23 and 26-27.
The ensemble is conducted by John Hendricks III along with Dearl J. Drury and Christopher J. Nichter. A highlight of the tour will be special guest pianist James Miltenberger performing George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” The Wind Symphony will also perform a new work titled “Mountaineers Are Always Free,” arranged by Dr. Miltenberger, who recently celebrated his 50th year on the School of Music faculty, where he serves as professor of piano, piano repertoire and jazz piano.
The Wind Symphony Concert at the WVU Creative Arts Center on Tuesday, April 23, begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyell B. Clay Theatre and is a ticketed event. It will also feature the Brothers of Phi Mu Alpha Choir. For tickets and information, call (304) 293-SHOW.
The performance in Charleston on Friday, April 26, will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the State Theater at the West Virginia Culture Center and is a free event.
The Wind Symphony will then travel to Charlotte, N.C., for a concert on Saturday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. at the Dana Auditorium, E.H. Little Fine Arts Center, at Queens University of Charlotte. This concert is also a free event.
A reception with light refreshments will occur immediately following the performances in Charleston and Charlotte. All concert attendees are welcome and encouraged to attend and meet College of Creative Arts Dean Paul Kreider and members of the Wind Symphony.
The Wind Symphony performs at a near-professional level, rehearsing three days a week and presenting four to five concerts each year which feature the finest traditional and contemporary wind literature. Over the past years, the ensemble has premiered many new compositions, while maintaining a solid connection with traditional and historical wind repertoire. Membership is open to all WVU students, by audition.
John Hendricks III also serves as director of bands for the School of Music and assistant dean for the College of Creative Arts. Drury is assistant director of bands at WVU, and is the director of the Mountaineer Marching Band, the Basketball Pep Band, the Symphonic Band, and the Concert Band. Nichter serves as the assistant director of athletic bands and also works with the three concert band ensembles. He also instructs conducting and music education courses.
The program for the Spring Tour includes:
“Celebration Overture” by Paul Creston – A bright and festive overture justifying its title with short and rhythmic melodies along with sonorous harmonies. It was composed in 1955 and premiered at the annual conference of the American Bandmasters Association.
“The Dawning of a Soul” by Daniel R. Mitchell – The piece musically depicts the journey of a searching soul, progressing through times of comfort as well as times of trial, tribulation, and darkness. Armed with courage, strength, and faith, the “soul” patiently treads onward until its true awakening occurs.
“Nobles of the Mystic Shrine” by John Philip Sousa – Sousa belonged to a large number of organizations—almost 40 in all. This march is in tribute to one of these organizations, the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Sousa was named honorary director of the Almas Temple Shrine Band in Washington, D.C.
“Hammersmith: Prelude and Scherzo” by Gustav Holst – Considered to be a true masterwork for wind band. The piece contrasts the two sections of the Hammersmith district in west London at the time of Holst: the slow-moving and serene Thames River against the bustling, boisterous, and exuberant street markets.
“The Sinfonians” by Clifton Williams – Based on the theme of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, a collegiate fraternity with a special interest in music. This symphonic march may be Williams’ most revered work.
“Esprit de Corps” by Robert Jager – Based on The Marines’ Hymn, this piece is a fantasy-march, as well as a tribute to the United States Marine Band. Full of energy and drama, the composition has both its solemn and lighter moments.
“Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin / arr. Thomas Verrier – Originally composed in 1924 for solo piano and jazz band, this has become the signature work by George Gershwin. This setting for solo piano and the modern wind band contain the exact elements as the original—a combination of classical music with jazz-influenced effects.
“Mountaineers Are Always Free” arranged James Miltenberger – A new work written to honor our great nation, the state of West Virginia, and WVU. This unique piece features The Battle Hymn of the Republic, the gospel jazz tune “How I Wish That I Knew What It Means to be Free,” and one of WVU’s fight songs, “Hail, West Virginia.”
For more information about the WVU Wind Symphony Spring Tour, contact the WVU Band Office at (304) 293-4380 or email John Hendricks at John.Hendricks@mail.wvu.edu.
CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
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