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Gerald Carpenter: UCSB Winds Still Blowing Strong After 25 years

The UCSB Wind Ensemble, directed by Paul Bambach, will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 27, in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall (Music Building). The concert, which concludes the Ensemble's 2017-18 season, is free, but reservations are recommended.

The largest-scaled work on the program, taking up the first half, is John Frantzen's symphony for band, “Catalyst for Wind Ensemble (2001),” with the composer in attendance (affording a too-rare opportunity to applaud a composer to his face).

In observation of Memorial Day, the program’s second half will find the University Wind Ensemble and alumni performing patriotic works, such as:

Morton Gould's jaunty “American Salute (1942);” Charles Ives' ineffably cranky “Variations on ‘America,’ for Organ (1891),” (presumably in a wind version of William Schuman's 1963 orchestration of the piece); Carmen Dragon's arrangement of Samuel Ward's "America the Beautiful;" and John Phillip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" (1896).

As an additional allurement, we will hear graduate assistant Cynthia Vong conduct Eric Whitacre's Christmas anthem, “Lux Aurumque (2000),” — transcribed in 2005 for concert band by the composer — as a tribute to victims and survivors of the 2014 Isla Vista event.

Frantzen (born 1964) is equally at home with traditional instruments and electronic scores. When composing for the former, his style is neo-romantic and accessible.

“Catalyst” is an exciting work (ma non troppo), exuberant and melodic. The Gould work is basically a fantasia on the Civil War song, "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" (the much grimmer version in the British Isles is called "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye").

Reservations for this concert can be made by calling the Associated Students ticket office, 893-2064, or by visiting http://www.music.ucsb.edu/news/purchase-tickets.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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