Purdue bands and orchestras open concert season Homecoming weekend

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University bands and orchestras will kick off their 2009-10 concert season during homecoming weekend.

Orchestras will perform its Homecoming Concert Saturday (Oct. 3) in the Long Center, 111 N. Sixth St., Lafayette. The Purdue Symphonic and Concert bands will perform a tribute to “Main Street USA” at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, also at the Long Center. Admission to both events is free.

The Purdue Orchestra will perform its Homecoming Concert Saturday, October 3, and the Purdue Symphonic and Concert bands will perform a tribute to Main Street USA on Sunday, October 4th -- both at the Long Center in Downtown Lafayette. Admission to both events is free.

The Purdue Orchestra will perform its Homecoming Concert Saturday, October 3, and the Purdue Symphonic and Concert bands will perform a tribute to Main Street USA on Sunday, October 4th -- both at the Long Center in Downtown Lafayette. Admission to both events is free.

From the galloping rhythms of Rossini’s famous “William Tell Overture” to Mendelssohn’s Fifth Symphony, which paraphrases the hymn tune “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” in its finale, the Purdue orchestras will showcase a variety of classical music during its Saturday event.

Both Purdue orchestras will be featured under the baton of Andrew King. The Purdue Philharmonic will perform Edward Elgar’s “Enigma Variations.” The unique piece takes one melody and explores different ways of playing it, each way influenced by the preferences of a friend or, in one case, a dog close to the British composer. “Enigma Variations” secured Elgar’s reputation as a composer of national, even international, standing and remains one of the most popular works in the classical repertoire, King says.

Before tackling Mendelssohn’s Fifth or “Reformation” Symphony, the Purdue Symphony opens its portion of the program with a “Hi Ho Silver and Away.” Those words will leap to audience’s minds when they hear Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” which became famous in the 20th century as the theme to “The Lone Ranger.”

Felix Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony, written in 1829, is a highly original piece of religious music depicting the triumph of Protestantism. In its fast stormy first movement, Mendelssohn musically depicts an intense spiritual struggle away from Catholicism. The finale, written as a celebration opens with the Lutheran chorale “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”

Bands concert

Nearly every element of fall in America, from festivals and Friday night football to walks down picturesque country lanes, will be described musically in “Main Street USA,” the bands’ concert on Sunday.

Two John Phillip Sousa marches, David Moore’s “Small Town Sketches,” Charles Ives’ “Variations on America” and Broadway composer Robert Russell Bennett’s “Autobiography Part 1” set the tone for the afternoon of music by American composers.

“Small Town Sketches,” the concert opener performed by Fall Concert Band under the direction of Ishbah Cox presents a series of musical pictures ranging from “Friday Night Football” to “Winter Walk” and from “County Fair” to “Concert in the Park.” The group also performs another highly descriptive work, “Down a Country Lane,” by Aaron Copland.

“Students are embracing many different styles on this concert from classical to Broadway,” says Jay Gephart, conductor of the Purdue Symphonic Band. “They move from one to another very easily, which shows a great deal of maturity as musicians.”

Although influenced by folk and traditional music, Ives was no stranger to compositional techniques of the 20th century, which are showcased in the Symphonic Band’s performance of “Variations on America.”

Symphonic Band also tackles Robert Russell Bennett’s “Autobiography Part 1” at the Oct. 3 concert and will present “Part 2” at a subsequent concert.

“H. Owen Reed’s ‘Heart of the Morn’ adds a nice balance to the other pieces on the program,” says Gephart. “It’s just a beautiful chorale based on the poem ‘Michigan Morn.’ ”

“Main Street USA” is presented by Purdue Bands & Orchestras. For more information on upcoming events visit www.purdue.edu/bands

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