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Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA Wind Symphony's spring concert to pay homage to the sun

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - In celebration of the spring season, the SFA Wind Symphony will present "Soleil!" A Sun Celebration at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, in the Grand Ballroom of the Baker Pattillo Student Center on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University.

"Throughout history, composers have been writing music in homage to the sun, and modern wind band composers are no different," said David W. Campo, associate director of bands at SFA and the Wind Symphony's conductor.

"Fanfare for the Sun," by Danish composer Carl Wittrock, opens the concert and features "brilliant brass and stunning woodwork flourishes," according to Campo. The opening piece is followed by John Mackey's "Sheltering Sky."

"Mackey's lushly beautiful 'Sheltering Sky' creates a sense of repose and calm after the energetic concert opening," Campo said. Of the composition, Mackey writes, "The work itself has a folksong-like quality, and, through this, an immediate sense of familiarity arises."

Conducted by graduate assistant conductor Justin Allen, "Sheltering Sky" is one of Mackey's newest and most popular compositions.

Commissioned in 2000 by Col. Finley Hamilton, conductor of the United States Army Field Band, "Sunrise at Angel's Gate," another work to be performed by the Wind Symphony, is the musical recollection of composer Philip Sparke's visit to the rock formation Angel's Gate in the Grand Canyon.

"Sunrise and sunset are the best times to view the canyon," Sparke is quoted as saying, "as a sun low in the sky casts shadows that give depth and form to the vast panorama. I have tried to depict the sights and sounds of dawn there, birdsong in the early morning sky and the gradual revelation of the canyon itself as sunlight reaches into its rocky depths."

The second half of the concert begins with Frank Ticheli's "Sundance," which the composer says depicts "a town festival on a warm, sun-washed day."

Another piece, "Dusk," by composer Steven Bryant, is part of a three-work "night cycle" that also contains the works "Marbled Midnight Mile" and "First Light."

"'Dusk' captures the reflective calm of dusk, paradoxically illuminated by the fiery hues of sunset," Campo said.

Rusty Banks composed "Coronal Loops" in response to a commission from a consortium of universities, including SFA.

"'Coronal Loops' is the composer's take on the interaction between the magnetic phenomena of the same name with man-made satellites," Campo explained.

The final piece on the concert features "a uniquely American contribution to the wind band genre: the circus march," according to Campo.

"Typically very fast and exciting in character and featuring exuberant melodies and virtuosic woodwind lines, these marches are intended to evoke images of all the thrills and excitement of a big top circus," he said.

One of the best-known additions to the genre is J.C. Heed's "In Storm and Sunshine," composed in 1885.

"Legend from Heed's hometown of Hackettstown, N.J., claims that Heed was actually the composer of 'Stars and Stripes,' credited to the march king, John Philip Sousa," Campo said.

The concert is a presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music and is a featured event of the Concert Series.

Tickets are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $2 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu.