URI hosts Southern New England Honors Band Festival, Jan 21-22

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KINGSTON, R.I.– January 6, 2011 — Top talent from high school bands around the region will gather to perform at the University of Rhode Island on January 21 and 22 for the Southern New England Honors Band Festival.

The annual festival includes two open rehearsals, a URI faculty recital, and the final, full concert combined this year for the first time with The American Band. All of these events are free and open to the public and will be held in the URI Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, 105 Upper College Road, Kingston. This year’s guest conductor is Stephen Peterson, director of bands at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY.

The open rehearsals are Friday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m.-noon, and 1-5 p.m. The recital featuring URI faculty artists performing solo and ensemble pieces is slated for 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 22, and the culminating concert with The American Band is at 8 p.m. The American Band was originally founded as a brass band in 1837, and is the second-oldest community band in the United States, conducted by URI Music Department faculty member Gene J. Pollart, with Brian Cardany as the assistant conductor.

Cardany, who is URI’s assistant director of bands and head coach and director of athletic bands, coordinates this festival each year. Students chosen to represent their schools 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 in a cooperative effort. For this year’s concert, they will work on and perform El Camino Real by Alfred Reed, Courtly Airs and Dances by Ron Nelson, Amazing Grace by Frank Ticheli, and Fairest of the Fair by John Philip Sousa.

Band students will be participating from Hingham, Triton Regional, and East Bridgewater High Schools plus Whitinsville Christian School in Massachusetts; Immaculate High School in Connecticut, and the following Rhode Island high schools: Cranston East, Portsmouth, Rogers, Barrington, Cumberland, Mt. Hope, Scituate, Narragansett, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Chariho, Middletown, Burrillville, Exeter-West Greenwich, North Smithfield, Smithfield, Masters Regional Academy, The Prout School, and Warwick Veterans Memorial. Twelve flutes, four oboes, one bassoon, 16 clarinets, one bass clarinet, five alto saxophones, four tenor saxophones, two baritone saxophones, nine trumpets, a single horn, four trombones, two baritone trombones, four tubas, and five percussionists will pool their talents into a combined student band of 70 young performers.

Stephen Peterson, appointed director of bands at Ithaca College in 1998, currently conducts their wind ensemble and teaches courses in conducting and wind literature. From 1988-98, he served as associate director of bands at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and was also conductor of the renowned Northshore Concert Band. Dr Peterson served on the faculty at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas and also taught in the public schools in Arizona. He holds the Doctor of Music degree from Northwestern University, and Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from Arizona State University. His ensembles have appeared before conventions of the American Bandmaster’s Association and many other prestigious national associations, at Orchestra Hall with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, and at Lincoln Center.

He is active as a conductor and clinician throughout the United States, Canada, and the Republic of China. He is a member of the Music Educator’s National Conference, College Band Directors National Association, World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, New York School State Band Director’s Association, and New York State School Music Association. Peterson has been elected to membership in the prestigious American Bandmaster’s Association.

Concerts seats are available on a first-come basis. The box office opens 45 minutes before the start of each concert. The URI Concert Hall is handicap-accessible, and parking is available in the lot behind the Fine Arts Center, off Bills Road.

For more information, please contact the URI Department of Music, 874-2431, or check the website: www.uri.edu/artsci/mus.