CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 6, 2001
Iowa City high school bands, UI Symphony Band perform April 18
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Bands from City High School and West High School in Iowa
City will share the program with the University of Iowa Symphony Band in a
free concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, in Hancher Auditorium on the UI
The West High Wind Ensemble under director Robert Medd will play the "Commando
March" by Samuel Barber and "Armenian Dances," Part I, by Alfred
Reed. The City High Wind Ensemble will play "Yiddish Dances" by
To conclude the program, the UI Symphony Band will play "Aegean Festival
Overture" by Andreas Makris, "Red Cape Tango" by Cedar Rapids
native Michael Daugherty, and "Into the Air!" by UI alumnus Timothy
"For several years we have been inviting a guest band to perform on
the spring concert with the Symphony Band," Welch said. "Two of
the finest high school bands in the state are right here in Iowa City. I am
very proud of these bands, especially since both Rob Medd and Steve Stickney
are UI graduates and former members of the Symphony Band."
Samuel Barber was one of the most successful American composers of the 20th
century. His music has been played and sung by leading performers throughout
the United States and around the world. Barber wrote the "Commando March,"
his only piece for military band, in 1943, while he was assigned to the Army
Air Force Band in Washington, D.C.
Alfred Reed's "Armenian Dances" for band is based largely on authentic
folk tunes collected by Gormidas Vartabad, an early 20th-century scholar and
ethnomusicologist. Part I of "Armenian Dances" comprises five movements.
Four are based on folk songs that Gormidas recorded and later arranged, while
one movement is based on an original song in folk style by Gormidas.
Gorb directs the school of composition and contemporary music at the Royal
Northern College of Music in Manchester, England. He wrote, " 'Yiddish
Dances' is very much a party piece. It brings together two of my abiding musical
passions: the Wind Orchestra and the Klezmer -- the folk music of the Yiddish-speaking
people. The five movements are all based on Klezmer dances."
Mahr earned his doctorate in conducting from the UI and was a trombonist
in the Symphony Band. He is director of bands at St. Olaf College in Northfield,
Minn. A successful composer of music for concert band, he has had works performed
around the country and on broadcasts on Minnesota Public Radio. "Into
the Air!" was commissioned by the U.S. Air Force Band and premiered by
Daugherty has created a distinct niche in the music world, composing concert
music inspired by American popular culture. His works include "Elvis
Everywhere," composed for the Kronos Quartet and the Elvis impersonators,
"Dead Elvis" for bassoon and winds, which was performed by the Symphony
Band last year, and the opera "Jackie O," premiered by the Houston
"Red Cape Tango" was inspired by the Superman mythology. It is
conceived as a dance of death in the form of a tango, and makes use of the
medieval "Dies irae" chant from the Latin mass for the dead.
Medd, in his eighth year as band director and chair of the Music Department
at West High School, directs the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band I and the Freshmen
Concert Band, co-directs the Trojan Marching Band and teaches instrumental
lessons. Under his direction the Jazz Band recently won the Iowa Jazz Championship
in Des Moines, the Wind Ensemble has consistently received the top ranking
at state festivals, and the West High School band program has tripled in size.
Medd previously taught at Northwest Junior High and Kirkwood Elementary
in Iowa City for six years. He received a bachelor's degree in music education
from the UI with distinction in 1986. He serves as adjudicator and guest conductor
throughout eastern Iowa, having conducted at the UI All-State Music Camp and
several district honor bands, as well as the Iowa City Community Band.
Stickney is chair of the City High School Music Department, director of
the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Bands II and III, is co-director of the Little
Hawk Marching Band, teaches music theory and gives instrumental lessons. Stickney
has taken both the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble to performances at the
Iowa Bandmasters Conference, and the Marching Band has received superior ratings
at the State Marching Contest for 10 consecutive years. Last year the City
High School Music Department was recognized nationally as one of 10 schools
to receive the Grammy Signature Gold School Award for exemplary high school
Prior to his appointment at City High, Stickney was director of bands at
Muscatine High School and Williamsburg High School. He received bachelor's
and master's degrees from the UI. He has served as adjudicator and clinician
at concert band and jazz band festivals in Iowa and Illinois, a guest conductor
for the UI All-State Music Camp, and district and conference honor bands.
Welch has been director of bands at the UI since 1980. In addition to conducting
the Symphony Band and Chamber Wind Ensemble, he teaches courses in instrumental
methods and conducting, and is coordinator of the Iowa Honor Band. He was
recently named a Collegiate Fellow in the UI College of Liberal Arts in recognition
of years of distinguished teaching, research and service to the college. 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.
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI
College of Liberal Arts.
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa
on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
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