The two-day festival begins on Friday, January 22, with a concert at 6:30 p.m. featuring URI faculty artists performing solo and ensemble pieces. It continues on Saturday, January 23, with a full day of music for the region’s finest high school student instrumentalists, culminating in an Honors Band concert at 7 p.m. conducted by special guest Gary Hill, Director of Bands at Arizona State University. Both concerts are open to the public with free admission, and will be held in the Concert Hall of the URI Fine Arts Center at 105 Upper College Road on URI’s Kingston campus.
The Southern New England Honors Band Festival is an annual event and is coordinated by URI’s Assistant Director of Bands and Head Coach and Director of Athletic Bands, Brian Cardany. Students chosen to represent schools from all over southern New England are introduced to nationally and internationally recognized performers and teachers, experience a college-level music environment, and meet and share their talents with fellow musicians from other schools in a cooperative effort. For this year’s concert, they will work on and perform Divertimento for Band (Persichetti), Aurora Awakes (John Mackey), Selections from “The Danserye” (Susato/Dunnigan), and Marche Militaire Francaise (Saint-Saens).
Student musicians from the following high schools have been chosen to participate in this year’s festival: Burrillville, Chariho, Coventry, Cranston East, East Bridgewater (MA), East Providence, Exeter-West Greenwich, Hingham (MA), Middletown, Mt. Hope, Narragansett, New Fairfield (CT), North Attleboro (MA), North Kingstown, North Smithfield, Ponaganset, Portsmouth, Rogers, Scituate, and South Kingstown.
Gary Hill, this year’s special guest conductor, has extensive experience working with high school, university, and professional ensembles. In addition to conducting the ASU Wind Symphony and Chamber Players and teaching graduate conducting, he is founder of ASU’s Digital Conducting Laboratory. Prior to his appointment at ASU, he was Director of Bands at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, where he also served as Music Director for the Kansas City Youth Wind Ensemble, and conducted two professional groups: the Kansas City Symphony Brass Ensemble and newEar, a chamber ensemble devoted to contemporary music.
Previously, he held a similar post at East Texas State University and was Associate Director of Bands at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Professor Hill began his teaching career in Michigan where he served as Director of Bands for the West Bloomfield and Traverse City public schools. As a guest conductor and clinician, he has made appearances in more than a dozen countries and throughout most of the United States. Additionally, he is in constant demand as a conducting teacher and as a clinician for bands and orchestras.
The concert hall is handicap accessible and parking is directly behind the Fine Arts Center in the lot off Bills Road. For more information, call the URI Music Department, 874-2431 or go to www.uri.edu/artsci/music.