Volume 13, Number 3 September 23, 2005

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Music Dept. hits high notes

The U of S Wind Orchestra has just released a CD 'Winds of  the Prairie: A Celebration'.

The U of S Wind Orchestra has just released a CD “Winds of the Prairie: A Celebration”.

The U of S Music Department will be hitting some high notes this fall and winter, with a number of major performance-related events standing out as particularly noteworthy, according to Department Head Dean McNeill.

McNeill notes the U of S Wind Orchestra, directed by Associate Professor Glen Gillis, is especially active this academic year.

Gillis says he and the Wind Orchestra have been invited to take part in the Texas Music Educators’ Convention – the biggest gathering of music educators in the world – to be held at the University of North Texas in February. They will perform and Gillis will present a joint clinic with composer Sam Hazo and UNT’s Associate Director of Band, Denis Fisher.

“For an outside band to come into that convention is very unusual,” Gillis says.

In conjunction with the conference visit, the Wind Orchestra will tie in a Feb. 12-19 tour of Texas. The group is now fundraising for the tour, and has just released a CD – Winds of the Prairie – produced as part of the provincial centennial celebrations. Sales proceeds going to the tour. A concert to celebrate release of the orchestra’s CD will be held Sept. 30 in Quance Theatre. The disc can be purchased from Gillis or the Music Department office.

Gillis says the orchestra will also perform at the University’s Homecoming Concert to be held in Convocation Hall Nov. 25, guest conducted by Professor Emeritus Marvin Eckroth.

He notes he had the pleasure of performing Sept. 11 in one of the first concerts in the newly renovated Convocation Hall. Gillis says the acoustics and the space are “wonderful”. That concert was the first of the department’s series of seven concerts to be held there in its September-March “In Performance – Convo Series”, renamed in honour of the return to the historic hall in the College Building.

McNeill says there’s a particular focus this year on department performances engaging with the community – both on campus and in the city – and he cites the following:

  • Associate Professor Kathleen Solose will be featured on piano forte with the Saskatoon Symphony's Chamber Orchestra in a new "Simply Beethoven Series" at Convocation Hall on Oct. 23, Feb. 19 and April 23.

  • The Music Department will launch a new "Brown Bag Lunch Series" of free 40-minute concerts in Convo Hall at 12:45 p.m. every Friday in October, November, February and March. It will be an eclectic series covering various musical styles by music faculty, sessionals and students.

  • Term-appointment faculty member and composer Neil Currie is a key figure in the upcoming release of the 75-year-old Saskatoon Symphony's first CD.

  • The U of S Jazz Ensemble 1, directed by McNeill, has just released its third CD, "Bumper Crop III". Sales proceeds go to the Ensemble's tours and CD productions.

For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca

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