Blinn College bands to finish semester with Spring concert series

Four musical performances are free and open to the public at the O’Donnell Center

Four musical performances are free and open to the public at the O’Donnell Center

April 25, 2019

The Blinn College-Brenham Campus bands will finish the semester with four separate performances at the Dr. W.W. O’Donnell Performing Arts Center this week.

Blinn will host the following performances:

  • “Deep Blue” jazz ensemble, 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30,
  • Symphonic Band, 7 p.m. on Friday, May 3,
  • Wind Symphony, 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 4,
  • and the percussion ensemble and steel band, 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 5.

All four performances are free to the general public. The concerts will mark the students’ final performances of the semester.

“Our students work hard the entire semester leading up to these concerts, so we are excited to show the public what we have been working on while giving our students an opportunity to perform in front of an audience,” said Todd Quinlan, Department Head. “The audience is really going to enjoy the different types of entertainment in each of these concerts and it is good for our students to get this type of an experience with an audience.”

The concert series will open Tuesday with the “Deep Blue” jazz ensemble directed by Dr. Craig Garrett and Brian Klekar. The band will perform selections in various styles, including swing, Latin, funk, and contemporary music. This concert also will culminate Garrett’s 25-year career as a Blinn Instrumental Music Professor, as he plans to retire at the end of the semester.

“‘Doc’ has been a great mentor and true friend over the years,” Klekar said. “I started as a student in his jazz band 21 years ago, and have also had the pleasure of working and growing as a teacher alongside him for the past 13 years. It is an honor to get to share the stage with him one last time.”

On Friday, the Symphonic Band, directed by Dr. Kendall Prinz, will showcase a program centered around works for large concert bands from modern composers. The concert will feature works from David Maslanka, David Del Tredici, Samuel R. Hazo, Michael Markowski, and Ola Gjeilo. The show will open with David Maslanka’s Mother Earth, a tumultuous interpretation of the beauty and the sometimes harsh, visceral qualities of nature inspired by the words of St. Francis of Assisi.

Many of the pieces have been inspired by people who have touched the lives of all those around them in an inspiring, personal way. Everything Beautiful by Samuel Hazo is a beautifully heartfelt Requiem written for Charles F. Campbell Jr., a band director and friend to so many; he was posthumously inducted into the Bands of America Hall of Fame in 2012. Each of the three interconnected movements takes listeners through the composer’s grieving process.

For the final piece on the program, the Symphonic Band will join forces with Blinn College Concert Choir for a truly sublime piece entitled Meridian by Ola Gjeilo. In this composition, Gjeilo indulges his love of ostinato, complex meters, and World Music-infused jazz to create textures and sonorities in the music that are at once exciting and beautifully exquisite.

Saturday night’s Wind Symphony performance, directed by Dr. Sarah Burke, will feature the works of Dana Wilson, Frank Ticheli, John Mackey, and Andrew Boysen Jr., among others. The evening will feature Blinn’s second 2018-2019 Blinn Band Concerto Competition winner, Guillermo Hernandez, on alto saxophone. The band also will perform the world premiere of Steven O. Scott’s latest work for wind band. Scott is an alumnus if the Blinn Music Program and is currently working in the film industry, where his projects include orchestration for movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2.

The remainder of the program includes larger scale works that address greater themes, including the battle between good and evil, and a moving tribute to those lost in the Columbine High School shooting 20 years ago this April. The varied program features something sure to touch each audience member. 

The concert series will close out with the percussion ensemble and steel band performance, co-directed by Burke and Quinlan. The performance will feature the full array of percussive literature, ranging from primal to lyrical. Highlights of the evening will include the large percussion orchestra work Ceiling Full of Stars by Blake Tyson, and a beautiful transcription of Debussy’s String Quartet for marimba quartet. The group will also perform Grammy Award winner David Skidmore’s Donner for percussion quartet. The evening will conclude with a collaborative performance of the percussion ensemble and the Blinn College national championship dance team. A select group will perform their own choreography to the work Bad Juju by Chad Heiny.

The Music Program is part of Blinn’s Division of Visual/Performing Arts and Kinesiology, which offers courses in architecture, arts, communication studies, kinesiology, music, and theatre.

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