Rhythm and blues, jazz, Norwegian folk melodies, a march and even a duel between a euphonium and wind band will be on the program Tuesday [APRIL 17] for East Central University’s spring band concert.
The ECU Symphonic Band and the Wind Ensemble will perform at 7:30 p.m. in the Ataloa Theatre in the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center. Dr. Allen Correll, assistant professor of music and band director, also will announce the winners of the prestigious Saied Awards in instrumental music.
The cash awards are presented to a student in each class who has shown the most improvement this year. They were established by the late James Saied, an ECU graduate and founder of the Saied Music Company in Tulsa.
The Symphonic Band will open the free concert with John Wasson’s arrangement of “Fireflies” by Adam Young, who describes it as “a thousand hugs from ten thousand lightning bugs.” It was a No. 1 hit in 2009 by recording sensation “Owl City.”
Next will be the best of the Motown sound with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, the 1967 hit single recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell and a 1970 hit by Diana Ross, her first solo number-one hit.
Nathan Steinman of Ada, an ECU senior, will conduct “Norwegian Rhapsody” by Clare Grundman which is based on six Norse folk melodies and includes lively dances, a soft, quiet lullaby and other tunes.
Two soloists will join the Wind Ensemble’s portion of the concert. Clayton Sullivan, an ECU sophomore from Tishomingo, will be the marimba soloist for “Concertino for Marimba and Band” by Paul Creston, generally accepted as one of the major works for percussionists.
Sullivan, who was born and raised in Venezuela, hopes to earn a doctoral degree to travel and teach around the world, eventually returning to Venezuela to teach music in small school programs.
Heather McDown, one of Correll’s students when he taught at Westmoore High School in Oklahoma City, will be the soloist for “Devil’s Duel for Euphonium and Wind Band” by Peter Meechan. The piece was inspired by the story of Niccolo Paganini, considered the leading Italian violinist of his time when he was only 13. Speculation grew about his great talent and he became known as a “Hexensohn” or witch’s brat.
“Devil’s Duel” uses the famous music of Paganini’s “Caprice no. 24” as the euphonium soloist duels with various instruments in the band with displays of virtuosity in the fast music and cunning in the slow.
McDown earned a bachelor of music degree at the University of North Texas. She received a master of arts degree in music performance from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, scoring the highest mark awarded for all postgraduate students in her final recital.
The concert will end with “Army of the Nile” by Kenneth J. Alford, a march published in 1941 when British soldiers pushed back the Italians in one of the Allies’ first major victories in this part of Africa, and “Blue Shades” by Frank Ticheli, an 11-minute work based on jazz-influenced motifs and themes, treated within the context of soloists, chamber groupings, and the entire wind ensemble.