“Winds & Classics” Features Music by American Composers on Oct. 1

The Santa Fe Winds will feature music by American band composers in the annual “Winds & Classics” concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, in the Fine Arts Hall at the Northwest Campus of Santa Fe College, 3000 NW 83 Street, Gainesville.

Tickets are $15 main floor and $12 balcony for adults; $9 for seniors, children and University of Florida students; and free for Santa Fe College faculty, staff and students with college identification cards. For ticket information, call the Box Office at 352-395-4181 or visit the Fine Arts ticket website at http://www.sfcollege.edu/finearts.

The 28 student musicians in the Santa Fe Winds meet twice a week to rehearse with Music Professor and Band Director Steve Bingham, Ph.D., for performances of some of the world’s greatest wind band literature. Now in its eighth year, “Winds & Classics” is an integral part of the SF Fine Arts Hall performance series.

This year’s musical selections include:

  • “An American Fanfare” by Rick Kirby
  • “America the Beautiful” arranged by Carmen Dragon
  • “Ride” by Samuel R. Hazo
  • “Tribute” by David Gorham
  • “Nemesis” by Gary Ziek
  • “Soaring with John Williams” arranged by Robert W. Smith
  • “Washington Post March” by John Philip Sousa

The melody used in “An American Fanfare” is the song “America (My Country, ’Tis of Thee)” that was written by Rev. Samuel F. Smith in 1932; that melody, in turn, is derived from the British national anthem, “God Save the Queen.” Rick Kirby incorporates this normally hymn-like composition into a fast, hard-driving piece for “An American Fanfare,” taking many liberties with both the melodic and harmonic elements of “America.”

Carmen Dragon, the arranger of “America the Beautiful,” was an Emmy Award-winning American conductor, composer, and arranger who worked in radio, film, and television in addition in to conducting live performances for concerts and recordings. He composed the score for the films “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” “At Gunpoint,” “Night Into Tomorrow” and “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.”

“Ride” is a high-velocity piece inspired by a landscape-blurring car ride down a country road in Pennsylvania. Beginning and ending in the same key to symbolize going from one “home” to another, “Ride” zooms through harmonic and metric changes that take listeners and musicians for a “ride” before building to a furious climax. The piece features the percussion section. Samuel R. Hazo, the composer, remains the only winner of both composition contests sponsored by the National Band Association. He was the single writer entrusted to compose memorials for victims of the mass murders at both Virginia Tech University and the Newtown School District in Connecticut.

The solemn and respectful “Tribute” is a memorial work that is both moving and expressive. As the piece unfolds, the mood gradually changes to create an uplifting feeling of hope and triumph. The composer, David Gorham, is a band director at an Oklahoma high school and has close to 60 published works for concert band that are on contest lists throughout the United States, Australia and Japan. He has also composed a number of commissioned works for groups throughout the country, including the United States Air Force Band of Mid-America.

“Nemesis” by Gary Ziek is an intense work that is full of percussion, appropriate for a selection named for the Greek god of vengeance. Director of Bands and Professor of Trumpet at Emporia State University in Kansas, Ziek is active as both a composer and arranger. He has performed and conducted in 25 states as well as in France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Canada.

John Williams is one of today’s most popular and prolific American composers. For “Soaring with John Williams,” the arranger Robert W. Smith has captured three melodies that soar both literally and figuratively—“Superman March,” “Cadillac of the Skies” (from the film “Empire of the Sun”) and “Star Wars March.”

John Philip Sousa wrote “Washington Post March” in 1889 to celebrate the first awards presented by the Washington Post Amateur Authors Association, a club created by the newspaper to encourage schoolchildren to write (and perhaps encourage their parents to buy newspapers). Sousa was the renowned conductor, composer and arranger who led the U.S. Marine Band for 12 years before forming his own concert band.

For more information about “Winds & Classics,” call Professor Steve Bingham at 352-281-4035.

For more information about the Fine Arts Hall or SF College Fine Arts programs, call Fine Arts Department Chairperson Alora Haynes, 352-395-5296.