UCA bands to present concerts

Carol Rolf/Contributing Writer Published November 28, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Nick Hillemann

Christian Carichner, left, and Eric Liu will perform solos Tuesday in the UCA Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band concert at the Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall.

CONWAY — Bands will be making special music during the coming days at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.

UCA will host its final Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band Concert of the fall semester at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

“It will be a great concert” said Ricky Brooks, director of bands.

“Both bands will play a variety of music hitting all generations and different kinds of people,” he said. “You’ll be sure to find something that you’ll like.”

The evening will have an international flair as the wind ensemble features Eric Liu, a graduate trumpet soloist from China, performing “Concert Etude No. 49” for solo trumpet and band. Liu, who is from Shanghai, is the winner of the annual UCA Wind Ensemble Student Spotlight Competition. This is his third year at UCA.

“I’m learning a lot,” he said with a smile. He is scheduled to graduate in May.

The symphonic band will perform “Dynamica,” described by Brooks as a “flamboyant” work by Netherlands composer Jan Van der Roost.

Christian Carichner, UCA tuba/euphonium professor, will share the solo spotlight with the symphonic band in a performance of “Concertino for Euphonium and Band” by the German composer Rolf Wilhelm.

Carichner is in his sixth year of teaching at UCA. His undergraduate degree in music education is from Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y., and his master’s degree in tuba performance is from Arizona State University.

Both Carichner and Liu are members of the Pinnacle Brass Quintet and will leave Dec. 16 for a two-week tour in China.

Rounding out the symphonic band program for the evening will be “Savannah River Holiday” by Ron Nelson and Leonard Bernstein’s “Slava!”

Brooks said the concert’s second half will feature, in addition to trumpet soloist Liu, the UCA Wind Ensemble’s rendition of a variety of musical genres. “Passage” will be the set opener, “carefully winding through intricate rhythms molded in a jazz style,” Brooks said.

The centerpiece of the second half will be “Angels in the Architecture” by Frank Ticheli, featuring vocalist Baylee Elkins of Greenbrier.

Elkins is a junior vocal major who also plays horn in the wind ensemble.

“She will be the unseen soloist of ‘Angels in Architecture,’” Brooks said, noting that this piece of music is “all about dark and light, evil and goodness.

“There is conflict in the middle, but the light wins out,” Brooks said. “Baylee sings the angel of light. It’s about a 14-minute piece.”

The concert will close with the “Purple Pageant March” by Karl King.

“Listen closely, and you’ll soon realize that the UCA fight song was taken from the trio of the march,” Brooks said, noting that former UCA band director Homer Brown came up with the fight song back in the 1950s. “There were several other fight songs before this one, but this is the one that stuck,” Brooks said with a laugh.

On Dec. 5, the UCA Bear Marching Band will hold its ninth Band Extravaganza! at 7 p.m., also in the Reynolds Performance Hall.

“This is a really big show,” Brooks said. “It’s a really big deal.”

The two-hour performance will feature the UCA Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band and the Bear Marching Band. Although the event is free, Brooks said, it is also a fundraiser for the UCA band program.

“A $10 donation, $5 for UCA students, at the door is appreciated,” Brooks said.

Brooks said UCA’s top jazz band, under the direction of Larry Jones, assistant professor of music, will also play “a few songs to give the audience a chance to hear music they wouldn’t typically hear at a football game.”

The Bear Marching Band, drum line, color guard and feature twirlers, under the direction of Brantley Douglas, associate director of bands, will be the highlight of the Extravaganza! The band will present music from the halftime shows and traditional UCA favorites and school songs.

“You’ve seen the Bear Marching Band on the field and in the stands at football games,” Brooks said. “Now you get to experience the band up close and unplugged.

“It will be loud, but not deafening,” he said with a smile.

Brooks said the Extravaganza! is held in conjunction with the UCA Honor Wind Ensemble Clinic for high school students. The Honor Wind Ensemble consists of 57 of Arkansas’ top band students, representing 22 high schools from around the state. The students will be on campus for the clinic Dec. 5 and 6.

“They call this Band Week at UCA,” Brooks said. “We used to have the extravaganza on a Sunday afternoon, but since we started hosting this clinic, we’ve held it on the Thursday night before the clinic begins on Friday. This gives the high school students a look at what we do.”

For more information on these upcoming concerts, contact Brooks at (501) 450-5764 or rickyb@uca.edu, or Douglas at (501) 450-5022 or bdouglas@uca.edu.

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