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Juniata Wind Symphony Honors Past with Anniversary Concert

(Posted September 20, 2010)

James Latten, director of the Juniata Wind Symphony, will conduct most of the concert at 2 p.m., Oct. 3 at Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Mixing new students performers with alumni players, while also combining classical compositions with historic works from Juniata College's early years, the Juniata Wind Symphony will honor the 75th anniversary of the college's band program in a concert at 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 3, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.

Tickets for the concert are $5 for adults and are available at the box office on the day of the concert. Admission is free for Juniata students with current I.D.

The concert will be conducted by James Latten, associate professor of music, except where guest conductors are listed.

According to "Uncommon Vision Uncommon Loyalty," a history of Juniata College by Earl Kaylor, professor emeritus of history, a Juniata College band started, "after several false starts," in 1935 with 30 musicians.

In recent years, Juniata instrumental groups have experienced a resurgence, attracting 111 wind players and 13 percussionists currently. Today the college offers two separate concert wind symphonies, a jazz ensemble and several chamber groups.

According to "Uncommon Vision Uncommon Loyalty," a history of Juniata College by Earl Kaylor, professor emeritus of history, a Juniata College band started, "after several false starts," in 1935 with 30 musicians.

The concert will open with a special appearance of the Juniata Orchestra, which last year celebrated its 105th anniversary as an ensemble. The 50-member orchestra, conducted by Rebekah O'Brien, lecturer in music, will perform "Slavonic Dance, op. 46, No. 8" by Antonin Dvorak. The "Slavonic Dances" are a series of 16 pieces composed by Dvorak between 1878 and 1886.

Two separate Wind Symphony ensembles will perform. The 49-member "Wednesday Night" (the groups are identified by rehearsal times) ensemble will perform "Overture to Candide," by Leonard Bernstein. "Candide" is a comic operetta first performed in 1956.

Next, the group will collaborate with the Stone Church Ringers handbell choir on the piece "No Shadow of Turning," by David Gillingham. The handbell choir is conducted by Sharon Yohn, assistant professor of chemistry at Juniata. The handbell choir also will perform a solo work, "Just a Closer Walk with Thee," accompanied by Tara Fitzsimmons, a Science in Motion mobile educator, on clarinet.

In the second half of the concert, both wind symphony groups will be joined by around two dozen former Juniata band members. The combined group's first selection will be "Strike Up the Band," by George and Ira Gershwin from the Broadway musical of the same name.

Next, the large group will play several historical tunes associated with earlier incarnations of the Juniata band. "To Juniata," the college's alma mater, will be premiered with a new arrangement for band by Latten.

The ensemble will also play "Stand Up and Cheer," which served as Juniata's fight song. In addition, the groups will play "On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss," by David Holsinger.

Guest Conductor John Fleming, a 1963 Juniata graduate and professor emeritus of music at Edinboro University, will conduct the Juniata groups in the composition "Huntingdon Municipal Band (H.M.B.) March." The "H.M.B. March" was written by Peter Buys, a Juniata music professor from roughly 1912 to 1919.

To end the concert, Ibrook Tower, professor emeritus of music at Juniata who led the band program from 1974 to 1995, will conduct the two wind symphony ensembles and the alumni players through "America the Beautiful," arranged by Carmen Dragon, who led the Hollywood Bowl orchestra and composed soundtracks for movies and television.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.