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Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band to perform concert to remember JFK

November 21, 2013 - Robbie Goodrich
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin State University Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band will present "JFK: In Memoriam" at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, in W.M. Turner Auditorium in Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus.

A joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music, the concert commemorates the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The Symphonic Band, under the direction of Dr. Tamey Anglley, assistant director of bands, will open the concert with "An American Fanfare" by Rick Kirby.

"This fast and hard-driving fanfare is based on the melody from 'My Country, 'Tis of Thee,'" Anglley said.

The band will next perform Bruce Houseknecht's arrangement of "Salvation is Created" by Pavel Tschesnokoff.

"Originally composed for choir, this piece has become a staple in the wind band literature," Anglley explained.

The next piece, conducted by conducting graduate student Stephen Morman of Athens, is "In Memoriam" by Mark Camphouse. "In Memoriam" uses the chorale from "Salvation is Created' as its source material, Morman said. Finally, the Symphonic Band will close the first half of the concert with "Concord" by Clare Grundman. "Concord" is based on three traditional tunes from old New England, including "The White Cockade," "America" and "Yankee Doodle."

The Wind Symphony will begin the second half of the concert with Ronald LoPresti's "Elegy for a Young American."

"This work was composed in 1964 and dedicated to the memory of John F. Kennedy," explained Dr. David W. Campo, associate director of bands and the Wind Symphony's conductor. "LoPresti was a former Ford Foundation composer-in-residence and a graduate of the Eastman School of Music."

The Wind Symphony will also perform "The Dream of Abraham" by Daniel Bukvich.

"Composer Daniel Bukvich is a singular voice in wind band literature," according to Campo. "His extensive use of aleatoric elements evokes unique sonic atmospheres. 'The Dream of Abraham' was inspired by the words of Abraham Zapruder, speaking about his reaction to capturing the assassination of President Kennedy on film."

Zapruder stated, "The Dream … always … whenever I sleep … the dream … shouts become whispers; shots, concussions of air; the crowd a distant, rushing whistle … sirens fading away … all as if under water in a pool of memories - muffled, indistinct, blending together and becoming images that move in agonizingly slow motion … humming and whispering and haunting every moment of sleep. The dream … always …"

Jarred Taylor, graduate guest conductor from Silsbee, will close the concert with "The Boys of Wexford." Albert Schoepper, director of 'The President's Own' Marine Band, arranged the march at the request of then President Kennedy, Campo explained.

"During Kennedy's state visit to Ireland in 1963, the president heard the Irish folk song 'The Boys of Wexford' at nearly every event he attended," Campo said. "He was so impressed, he asked Schoepper to have one of his staff arrange the folk song for the Marine Band."

Big band composer Sammy Nestico received the assignment on a Friday evening, and on the following Monday morning, the Marine Band was playing "The Boys of Wexford" at the White House for the president, who pronounced it his "official" march, Campo said.

"No one could know that just a few short months later, the Marine Band would escort the president to his final resting place in Arlington Cemetery," he said.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students. For tickets or more information, visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu or call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 486-6407.