NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Dr. Dan Haddad, associate director of bands at Stephen F. Austin State University, will conduct the Wind Symphony in its presentation of “Dusk to Dawn” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 24, in the Grand Ballroom of the Baker Pattillo Student Center on the SFA campus.
“Selected pieces touch on dark and light themes, whether literally, emotionally or metaphysically,” Haddad said.
Guest conductors joining Haddad will be Dr. Chris Kaatz, assistant director of bands at SFA; Jeff Bellgardt, graduate student and Mount Enterprise ISD director of bands; and Christina Colley, graduate conductor from Henderson.
Representing twilight, “Colonial Song” by Percy Grainger is among the featured works. Grainger initially wrote “Colonial Song” in 1911 as a piano piece and as a gift to his mother, Rose. Of his piece, Grainger wrote that it was "an attempt to write a melody as typical of the Australian countryside as Stephen Foster’s exquisite songs are typical of rural America.”
Reflective of the darkness before the dawn, David Maslanka’s Requiem is a single-movement fantasia written in response to an event of the Holocaust in World War II. “It is not possible truly to grasp the deaths of millions of people, but the death of one, in this case a year-old baby, brought me face to face with the horror and revulsion of the whole,” the composer wrote. “We think that history is past, and nothing can change it. But the effects of such things as the Holocaust are still immediately with us; the open wound has not been healed. It is my feeling that music can bring closure, and it is my hope that Requiem will serve in this capacity.”
“Variations on a Shaker Melody” by Aaron Copland represents dawn, where “hope springs eternal,” according to Haddad. One of Copland’s most recognized works, “Variations on a Shaker Melody” is an excerpt from his Pulitzer Prize-winning ballet, “Appalachian Spring.” This setting for concert band was completed by the composer during 1956 and premiered at Northwestern University on March 2, 1958. Copland selected the then obscure Shaker tune “Simple Gifts” for his variations. The unsung text, “Tis the gift to be simple, tis the gift to be free,” was also relevant to the ballet's larger themes of peace, war, remembrance and national identity.
Admission to the concert is free. For additional information, contact the SFA School of Music at (936) 468-4602.