Symphonic Wind Ensemble to perform spring concert

Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Dr. Barry Ellis
Ensemble Nouveau
G. Daniel Fairchild

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. –  The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble will perform its spring concert, “Celebration,” on Wednesday, April 18, in the Brodbeck Concert Hall, Center for the Arts, at 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Barry Ellis, director of bands and professor of music at UW-Platteville, and Matthew Gregg, senior lecturer, associate director of bands and director of the Marching Pioneers at UW-Platteville, will conduct the ensemble performance.

The spring tour concert will celebrate the centennial of American composer Leonard Bernstein with “Mass,” his monumental theatrical work composed for the opening of the John F. Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Arranger Michael Sweeney took selected movements from the work and set them in a suite for wind band and brass quintet. The UW-Platteville music program’s Ensemble Nouveau will be the featured performers on this piece as well as Bernstein’s “Mambo,” the frenzied, competitive dance number from “West Side Story.” The spring tour concert will also celebrate the music of American women composers Shelley Hanson and Cindy McTee.

Ellis noted that a celebration is in order for the departure of a longtime colleague, G. Daniel Fairchild, professor of music at UW-Platteville, who will be retiring in May after 48 years of university teaching. In 2017, Fairchild, who will guest conduct the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, was selected by School Band and Orchestra Magazine to represent the state of Wisconsin as one of “50 Directors Who Make a Difference.” The spring tour concert will mark his final appearance with the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, a group he conducted for many years.

“All concerts are special to me because expressing feelings and emotions through music is one of the ways we can come together to celebrate the unity of the human experience,” said Fairchild. “Music and artistic expression can often say more about sharing this small planet than all the meetings and committees in the world. This will be one of the last performances I will share the stage with the talented and caring UW-Platteville students and staff, but I will continue to make music and sing the praises of the university and community that has been my home for 48 years. It is my hope that the performers and audience leave the concert ‘celebrating’ the good that artistic expression can create.”

A special highlight of the concert will be “Albanian Dance” by Shelley Hanson, conducted by Keeley Denton, winner of the annual Symphonic Wind Ensemble Conducting Competition. Denton, a senior music education major with an emphasis in instrumental and general education at UW-Platteville, competed in the conducting competition and was declared the winner by a panel of judges.

“The opportunity to conduct ‘Albanian Dance’ means that I can connect to the ensemble and audience on a new level,” said Denton, a native of Bristol, Wisconsin. “It is an honor to work with the ensemble under the guidance of excellent professors. I am looking forward to sharing the excitement and talent of this ensemble in the upcoming concert.”

Ellis said every work in the concert commemorates an important event or individual who has made a lasting impression on music, on musicians, on students of music and music education.

“We celebrate the centennial of one of our greatest American ambassadors of music, Leonard Bernstein; the prominence of two American women composers; and the retirement of one of UW-Platteville’s foremost music educators,” said Ellis. He noted that Fairchild will conduct Richard Wagner’s “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral,” a work that Fairchild is very fond of. Additional concert repertoire will include “Circuits” by Cindy McTee.

The Symphonic Wind Ensemble is the premier wind and percussion group of the UW-Platteville music program, with members chosen by audition. The repertoire is carefully chosen to provide a variety of musical experiences from the traditional to the historical to contemporary art literature. There are 45 UW-Platteville students in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Students are from a wide variety of disciplines, including music, criminal justice, engineering and biology, to name a few.

Tickets are $7 for general admission, $5 for students and are available at the door or online through the University Box Office, located in the lower level of Ullsvik Hall. Call 608-342-1298 or 877-727-1CFA or visit tickets.uwplatt.edu.

For more information about Fairchild, visit: www.uwplatt.edu/news/fairchild-named-director-who-makes-difference and www.uwplatt.edu/news/pioneer-spotlight-g-daniel-fairchild.

Written by: Laurie A. Hamer, University Relations Specialist, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu

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