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Release: Oct. 29, 1999

Annual Band Extravaganza presents top UI wind groups Nov. 16-17

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The 31st annual Band Extravaganza, featuring the top bands from the University of Iowa School of Music, will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 16 and 17 in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus.

One of the UI School of Music’s most popular events, the Band Extravaganza features three ensembles -- the Hawkeye Marching Band, under director Kevin Kastens; the Johnson County Landmark jazz band, directed by John Rapson; and the Symphony Band, conducted by Myron Welch.

The UI Symphony Band performs many of its own full-length concerts during the year, both on and off-campus. Its program contains contemporary works and transcriptions as well as standard band repertoire.

The Symphony Band and conductor Myron Welch will present three pieces for the Band Extravaganza -- "Commando March" by American composer Samuel Barber; the orchestral favorite "Mars" from "The Planets," as written for band by the composer, Gustav Holst; and the March from Paul Hindemith’s "Symphonic Metamorphosis," arranged for band from the orchestra score.

Johnson County Landmark (JCL) is the UI’s ensemble devoted to the performance of original works by the great composers of the big-band jazz repertory. Consisting of the best jazz players at the School of Music, JCL is known for picking up the prizes at jazz festivals and contests around the country. Members of JCL won the top awards at the International Trumpet Guild’s 1994 Jazz Competition and the 1994 Jazz Composition Competition sponsored by California State University at San Diego.

For the concert, JCL will play Rapson’s "Tulip Jive Dance," "Pootin’ It" by Eric Dixon, Oliver Nelson’s "Black, Brown and Beautiful," and "First Circle" by Pat Metheny and Bob Curnow.

As always, the Hawkeye Marching Band promises to provide lots of fun and surprises. The band will play selections from the 1998 football-season half-time shows, including the traditional band skits and a performance by the drum line, and concluding with the traditional UI songs "On Iowa" and the "Iowa Fight Song."

Kastens is assistant director of bands at the UI. He directs the Hawkeye Marching Band and the Concert Band, teaches band arranging and marching band techniques, and is the director of the All-State Music Camp. Before coming to the UI in 1998 Kastens served five years at the University of Missouri, where he directed the marching band, Marching Mizzou, and the pep band for men’s basketball games, Mini Mizzou.

Kastens has presented workshops and clinics on marching band techniques and computer drill design and appeared as guest conductor at band clinics throughout the Midwest and Canada. He

has had numerous articles published on instrumental music education in the Music Educators Journal and other professional publications. A leader in the field of computer-assisted marching band drill design, he helped develop "Drill Quest," a drill-writing software program.

Rapson joined the faculty of the UI School of Music as director of jazz studies in August 1993. A recording artist for the Sound Aspects and Nine Winds labels, he is a composer and trombonist whose work mixes ethnic and experimental elements with more conventional jazz forms. His recent experimental jazz recording "Dances and Orations" has been hailed as "one of the most vital CDs to come around in a long time" in Jazziz and as "a conceptual and musical triumph" by Josef Woodard in the Independent.

Rapson holds a master’s degree in music theory and composition from California State University, Northridge, and he has completed course work for a doctorate in Ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University.

Welch has been director of bands at the UI since 1980. In addition to conducting the Symphony Band and Chamber Wind Ensemble, Welch teaches courses in instrumental methods and conducting and is coordinator of the Iowa Honor Band. Prior to joining the UI faculty he was director of bands and coordinator of music education at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Michigan State University and a doctorate in music education from the University of Illinois.

Welch is past president of the American Bandmasters Association, the Big 10 Band Directors Association and the Iowa Bandmasters Association. He is a frequent guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician with bands throughout the United States.

Tickets for reserved seats for the Band Extravaganza are available for $4 from the Hancher Auditorium Box Office. Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Kevin Kastens, the director of the Hawkeye Marching Band, can be contacted at (319) 335-1635, or by e-mail at Myron Welch can be contacted at the same phone number, or at John Rapson can be contacted at (319) 335-1633, or )