Three URI Ensembles Perform Feb 24-25

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KINGSTON, R.I. –February 8, 2007–The math isn’t hard –three music ensembles, divided into two concerts, all in one weekend at the University of Rhode Island. The concerts –one performed by the URI Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, February 24, and the other a “double header” featuring the URI Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the URI Concert Band on Sunday, February 25 — will present works in a wide variety of musical styles ranging from classical to contemporary.

The Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ann Danis, will perform Roman Carnival Overture by Berlioz, Symphonic Dance by Grieg, selected movements from Serenade for Strings by Dvorak, and 2 spirituals arranged by Henry T. Burleigh. The orchestra, which dates back to the 1930’s, is one of the largest URI music ensembles, with both student and community members. Musicians must pass an audition in order to play in the orchestra on a regular basis. The concert is at 8pm.

On Sunday, Gene Pollart will direct the Symphonic Wind Ensemble at 3pm with a program of contemporary pieces including two works written in the 1940’s: “March” from Symphonic Metamorphosis by the great Yale University composer Paul Hindemith, arranged for band at his request by Keith Wilson, and Ballad For Band by Morton Gould, a piece that was ahead of its time in 1946 using polytonality and polyrhythms, but that became a standard by the 1950s.

The ensemble will also perform Fantasy On A Theme By Samuel Barber by Samuel Barber/Arranged by Richard Saucedo, and Symphony No. 2 by John Barnes Chance, a gifted composer for wind instruments. Originally written in 1961, this symphony was revised and completed in it present form just before his death in 1972. Pollart calls it “a brilliant and stunning work, based on a simple four-note motif.”

In the second half of the 3pm Sunday concert, the URI Concert Band, directed by Brian Cardany, will perform five pieces by modern composers all born between 1938 and 1956. The program will include Cenotaph (Fanfare for Band) by Jack Stamp, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Elliot Del Borgo, A Movement for Rosa by Mark Camphouse, The Dragoon Trail by Roger Cichy, and Hymn of St. James by Reber Clark.

A cenotaph is a “statue or monument to a person not buried there,” for example, the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. According to Cardany, the fanfare by Stamp “connotes a breathtaking structure such as one of these cenotaphs.” The work by Del Borgo is not a programmatic depiction of the Dylan Thomas poem from which it is titled, but attempts to “recreate the essence of the poem in sound”, he adds. The Camphouse piece is especially apt for Black History Month, for it was inspired by and memorializes Rosa Parks, the tailor’s assistant whose act of personal courage in refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, sparked the Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s.

The concerts will be held in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall off Upper College Road on URI’s Kingston campus. Admission is $8 for the general public, $2 for students, with seating on a first-come basis. The box office opens 45 minutes before the concert.

For more information, call the URI Music Department at 874-2431.