Symphonic Band Presents Reflections On American Life

Nov. 11, 2004

by Richard Veit

The Baylor University Symphonic Band will perform the second of its fall semester programs at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15, in Jones Concert Hall in the Glennis McCrary Music Building. The 71-member ensemble is led by Barry Kraus, associate director of bands.

The concert presents a wide variety of reflections on American musical life, opening with English composer Adam Gorb's Awayday, an affectionate salute to the great days of the Broadway musical. In Gorb's words, "If you can envisage George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky and James Bond traveling together at a hundred miles per hour in an open-top sports car, I think you'll get the idea."

The Symphonic Band will follow with the second of George Gershwin's three Preludes for Piano, as transcribed for band by Joseph Krance. This jazzy piece comes right out of the Tin Pan Alley era and actually is more closely related to ragtime than to swing. Guest conducting the Gershwin piece will be Colin McKenzie.

The band also will perform John Philip Sousa's march The Black Horse Troop, which was dedicated to the men and horses of Cleveland's Ohio National Guard Cavalry, known as Troop A, followed by American composer Charles Ives' polytonal and slightly irreverent Variations on "America." Ives composed the piece in 1891 while he was a 17-year-old church organist in Danbury, Conn. It was orchestrated by William Schuman in 1963 and then transcribed for band by William Rhoads.

The program will close with Schuman's most popular work, New England Triptych, a setting of three songs ("Be Glad Then, America," "When Jesus Wept" and "Chester) by 18th-century American composer William Billings.

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Baylor School of Music at 254-710-3991.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?