The Santa Fe Winds and the Santa Fe Hand Drummers will perform in a combined concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, in the Building E Auditorium at the Northwest Campus of Santa Fe College, 3000 NW 83 Street, Gainesville. Admission is free and there will be a bake sale and an opportunity to make a donation in support of the college’s music programs.
Under the direction of Music Professor Leon Larson, the Hand Drummers will perform rhythms from Africa and the New World, including: a Nigerian male dance of strength; a welcome; a Brazilian samba, a selection from the Caribbean; a female initiation; a male-and-female flirtation dance; a planting and harvest rhythm; and a Brazilian capoeira.
Larson has been drumming for more than 50 years. His inspiration was Babatundi Olatunji, the Nigerian drumming master who founded the group Drums of Passion. For the past 15 years, Larson has studied with Gordy Ryan, a 20-year veteran of Drums of Passion, with a focus on West African culture, rhythms and dance. Larson co-founded Gainesville’s Lost Safari Drummers. He has worked with the University of Florida’s Agbedidi drumming and dance ensemble in addition to teaching at Santa Fe College and conducting drumming workshops throughout Florida.
Under the direction of University of Florida Professor Emeritus Gary Langford and with SF College Music Professor Steve Bingham playing piccolo and tenor saxophone, the Santa Fe Winds will perform “Hosts of Freedom” by K. L. King; selections from “Beauty and the Beast” by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken; “Blessed Are They” by Brahms; Charles Carter’s “Symphonic Overture”; and “American Riversongs: A Folksong Setting for Band” by Pierre La Plante. “Riversongs” is described as “a moving tribute to an earlier time, when our rivers and other waterways were the lifelines of our growing nation.” “Riversongs” features “Down The River,” “Shenandoah (Across The Wide Missouri,” “The Glendy Burk” and a Creole bamboula tune.
Langford fell in love with jazz as an undergraduate and went on to earn a master’s degree in trumpet performance from the Jazz Studies program at the University of North Texas. During his 37-year career at the University of Florida, where a music scholarship bears his name, he served as Professor of Music, Assistant Director of the School of Music, and Director of Concert Band, Marching Band and Jazz Band. He is a founding member of Gainesville Friends of Jazz and an accomplished arranger.
For more information about the concert, call Santa Fe College Music Professor Steve Bingham at 352-395-5313. For more information about the college’s Fine Arts programs, call Alora Haynes at 352-395-5296.