Concert pays tribute to 3 American composers

The Wind Ensemble and Symphony Band will perform a concert in tribute to three American composers on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall.

“Henry Cowell, Charles Ives and John Philip Sousa all made significant contributions to the American musical scene. This year we honor Ives on the 50th anniversary of his death and to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sousa,” said professor Laura Rexroth, director of Bands for the Department of Music and Dance. Ives, who grew up in Connecticut, was taught by his father, a Civil War bandmaster, to listen to the world with open ears. Ives infused the sounds and memories of the town band in all his compositions. His “Variations on America,” which will be played by the Symphony Band, is a virtuosic exploration of harmony and technique complete with his ever-present sense of musical humor. Other works on the program by Ives are: “Country Band March,” “March: Omega, Lambda Chi,” “The Alcotts,” and “March Intercollegiate.”

For Henry Cowell, who was a friend of Ives, the 18 months spent in the U.S. Army triggered an interest in wind band music. The Wind Ensemble will perform Cowell’s “Shoonthree” and his “Hymn and Fuguing Tune #1” will be played by the Symphony Band. The works show Cowell’s dedication to advancing techniques in 20th century music as well as his interest in world music, especially Irish folk music.

Known as the March King, John Philip Sousa is thought to be the composer who created the classic American sound. Both the Wind Ensemble and the Symphony Band will perform Sousa’s works. David Gillingham’s “Be Thou My Vision” and Edward Elgar’s “Nimrod” from his “Enigma Variations” will also be on the program.

Tickets are $10 general public and $5 for senior citizens, students and children under 18 years of age and are available at the Fine Arts Center Box Office (545-2511).