Cleveland Winds and Patriots Symphonic Band, Nov. 12, 2017

Join the Cleveland Winds on Sunday, November 12, 2017, at 7 PM in Waetjen Auditorium at CSU for a wonderful evening of wind band music.

Patriots Band

The first half of the concert will feature the Patriots Band and their conductor, Dr. John Knight. You can read more about the Patriots Band and their extensive history on their website:

Dr. John Knight is Professor Emeritus of Conducting and Ensembles and Music Education at Oberlin Conservatory, Oberlin, Ohio. He has been a member of the Oberlin Conservatory community since 1978 and served as chairman of the Conducting Division for many years. He retired in 2013. John received his baccalaureate degree from the University of Central Arkansas and the masters and doctoral degrees from Louisiana State University.

Cleveland Winds Guest Performers

Captian Shanti Simon, Associate Conductor of the Air Force Academy Band, will guest conduct one selection with the Cleveland Winds on this concert. Prior to her arrival at the Air Force Academy, she was the officer in charge of the Air Force Strings, Airmen of Note and Max Impact with The United States Air Force Band, Washington, D.C. Before joining the Air Force, Capt. Simon earned her MM and DMA degrees from the University of Minnesota where she studied with Craig Kirchhoff. She received her BME and BM degrees from Stetson University in Florida with Bobby Adams. She also served as the Associate Director of Bands at Vero Beach High School in Florida for four years.

Jason Smith, principal trombonist with CityMusic (Cleveland) and adjunct trombone instructor at CSU, will also be featured on this concert. Jason Smith is one of Cleveland’s most versatile trombonists. He has performed with many diverse groups including Opera Cleveland, the Blossom Festival Band, Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, Firelands Symphony and Ashland Symphony. He also has an extensive background in jazz, having performed with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and recorded with Sam River’s Rivbea Orchestra and the Grammy-nominated Dan McMillion Groovin’ High Jazz Orchestra. He has performed at several European jazz festivals, including Montreux, Switzerland, Umbria, Italy, and Veinne, France. Jason was a finalist in the Larry Wiehe solo competition, sponsored by the International Trombone Association and a first prize winner in the Tuesday Musical Competition in Akron, OH. In 2008, he was the guest soloist with Cleveland Chamber Winds, performing Jean Fracaix’s Concerto for Trombone and Winds. Jason received a Master of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Bachelor of Music in jazz performance from the University of South Florida.

Program Notes

Aaron Copland composed An Outdoor Overture for an entirely indoor occasion: a concert by the orchestra of the High School of Music and Art in New York City on December 16, 1938. The school's conductor, Alexander Richter, was in the process of launching a campaign to foster the writing of "American music for American youth," and the composer found the invitation to write such a work "irresistible" (all the more, perhaps, because his music was undergoing a stylistic change). An Outdoor Overture was a milestone in confirming this change, since it was written for young people to play, and the vague criterion of accessibility therefore mattered more to Copland than it had before. This change proved crucial, of course, as the works of this period, including Appalachian Spring and Rodeo, and culminating in the Third Symphony of 1946, have remained his best-loved, most-performed scores. This band arrangement was made by Copland himself -- at his publisher's suggestion -- several years after its composition. The "outdoor" in the title stems from the style of spacious chordal writing, implying that very high and very low sonorities are present throughout.
- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

William Goldstein's Colloquy for Trombone and Symphonic Band was commissioned by The United States Army Band and premièred before 12,000 people at an outdoor concert in Washington DC at the Watergate the summer of 1967. The New York première took place that winter at Carnegie Hall. Colloquy is a favorite of the trombone soloists of the Boston Symphony and New York Philharmonic. Since 1992 when Colloquy for Solo Trombone and Symphony Orchestra, premièred Colloquy has become repertoire. It has been performed worldwide in both orchestral and symphonic band versions by both Jazz and Symphonic players. Joe Alessi, soloist of the New York Philharmonic, recently recorded Colloquy, as did Ron Barron, soloist of the Boston Symphony, a few years earlier. Yet another version of Colloquy was commissioned in April 2009 by the American Wind Symphony Orchestra.

The blue hour is an oft-poeticized moment of the day -- a lingering twilight that halos the sky after sundown but before complete darkness sets in. It is a time of day known for its romantic, spiritual, and ethereal connotations, and this magical moment has frequently inspired artists to attempt to capture its remarkable essence. This is the same essence that inhabits the sonic world of John Mackey's Hymn to a Blue Hour.

Programmatic content aside, the title itself contains two strongly suggestive implications -- first, the notion of hymnody, which implies a transcendent and perhaps even sacred tone; and second, the color blue, which has an inexorable tie to American music. Certainly Hymn to a Blue Hour is not directly influenced by the blues, per se, but there is frequently throughout the piece a sense of nostalgic remorse and longing -- an overwhelming sadness that is the same as the typically morose jazz form. Blue also has a strong affiliation with nobility, authority, and calmness. All of these notions are woven into the fabric of the piece -- perhaps a result of Mackey using what was, for him, an unconventional compositional method:

"I almost never write music 'at the piano' because I don't have any piano technique. I can find chords, but I play piano like a bad typist types: badly. If I write the music using an instrument where I can barely get by, the result will be very different than if I sit at the computer and just throw a zillion notes at my sample library, all of which will be executed perfectly and at any dynamic level I ask. We spent the summer at an apartment in New York that had a nice upright piano. I don't have a piano at home in Austin -- only a digital keyboard -- and it was very different to sit and write at a real piano with real pedals and a real action, and to do so in the middle of one of the most exciting and energetic (and loud) cities in America. The result -- partially thanks to my lack of piano technique, and partially, I suspect, from a subconscious need to balance the noise and relentless energy of the city surrounding me at the time -- is much simpler and lyrical music than I typically write."

Though not composed as a companion work to his earlier Aurora Awakes, Hymn to a Blue Hour strikes at many of the same chords, only in a sort of programmatic inversion. While Aurora Awakes deals with the emergence of light from darkness, Hymn to a Blue Hour is thematically linked to the moments just after sundown -- perhaps even representing the same moment a half a world away. The opening slow section of Aurora Awakes does share some similar harmonic content, and the yearning within the melodic brushstrokes seem to be cast in the same light.

The piece is composed largely from three recurring motives -- first, a cascade of falling thirds; second, a stepwise descent that provides a musical sigh; and third, the descent's reverse: an ascent that imbues hopeful optimism. From the basic framework of these motives stated at the outset of the work, a beautiful duet emerges between horn and euphonium -- creating a texture spun together into a pillowy blanket of sound, reminiscent of similar constructions elicited by great American melodists of the 20th century, such as Samuel Barber. This melody superimposes a sensation of joy over the otherwise "blue" emotive context -- a melodic line that over a long period of time spins the work to a point of catharsis. In this climactic moment, the colors are at their brightest, enveloping their surroundings with an angelic glow. Alas, as is the case with the magical blue hour, the moment cannot last for long, and just as steadily as they arrived, the colors dissipate into the encroaching darkness, eventually succumbing at the work's conclusion with a sense of peaceful repose.
- Program note by Jake Wallace

Zion is the third and final installment of a series of works for wind ensemble inspired by national parks in the western United States, collectively called Three Places in the West. As in the other two works (The Yellowstone Fires and Arches), it is my intention to convey more an impression of the feelings I've had in Zion National Park in Utah than an attempt at a pictorial description. Zion is a place with unrivaled natural grandeur, being a sort of huge box canyon in which the traveler is constantly overwhelmed by towering rock walls on every side -- but it is also a place with a human history, having been inhabited by several tribes of Native Americans before the arrival of the Mormon settlers in the mid-nineteenth century. By the time the Mormons reached Utah, they had been driven all the way from New York State through Ohio and through their tragic losses in Missouri. They saw Utah in general as "a place nobody wanted" but were nonetheless determined to keep it to themselves. Although Zion Canyon was never a "Mormon stronghold", the people who reached it and claimed it (and gave it its present name) had been through extreme trials.

It is the religious fervor of these persecuted people that I was able to draw upon in creating Zion as a piece of music. There are two quoted hymns in the work: Zion's Walls (which Aaron Copland adapted to his own purposes in both Old American Songs and The Tender Land), and Zion's Security, which I found in the same volume where Copland found Zion's Walls -- that inexhaustible storehouse of nineteenth century hymnody called The Sacred Harp.

My work opens with a three-verse setting of Zion's Security, a stern tune in F# minor which is full of resolve. (The words of this hymn are resolute and strong, rallying the faithful to be firm, and describing the "city of our God" they hope to establish.) This melody alternates with a fanfare tune, whose origins will be revealed later in the music, until the second half of the piece begins: a driving ostinato based on a 3/4-4/4 alternating meter scheme. This pauses at its height to restate Zion's Security one more time, in a rather obscure setting surrounded by freely shifting patterns in the flutes, clarinets, and percussion -- until the sun warms the ground sufficiently for the second hymn to appear. Zion's Walls is set in 7/8, unlike Copland's 9/8-6/8 meters (the original is quite strange, and doesn't really fit any constant meter) and is introduced by a warm horn solo with low brass accompaniment. The two hymns vie for attention from here to the end of the piece, with glowingly optimistic Zion's Walls finally achieving prominence. The work ends with a sense of triumph and unbreakable spirit.

Zion was commissioned in 1994 by the wind ensembles of the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Oklahoma. It is dedicated to the memory of Aaron Copland.
- Program note by Dan Welcher