Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Fairmont State Wind Ensemble, conducted by Dr. Valarie Huffman, and the Fairmont State Percussion and African Ensemble, conducted by Matthew Schoonmaker, will present a joint concert at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, in the Turley Center Ballroom.

The Wind Ensemble will perform works from American as well as European composers past and present. Music that will be performed includes Joseph Wilcox Jenkins' "American Overture for Band," which was written for the U.S. Army Field Band and dedicated to its then-conductor, Chester E. Whiting. The piece is considered Jenkins' most popular band work that was also his first piece for symphonic band.

Another selection on the concert will be Robert Cameron's transcription of Franz Biebl's "Ave Maria." First published in Germany in 1964, the "Ave Maria" was originally scored for seven-part men's choir. The expressive transcription is based on a mixed choir version in order to better match the registration of a wind ensemble.

Also included on this concert will be Samuel Barber's "Commando March." Barber served as a member of the Army Air Corps during World War II. His second symphony, produced for the Army Air Corps in 1942, made use of an electronic instrument to imitate radio signals. In a similar wartime spirit, he completed his first band work, the "Commando March," in 1943. The premier performance was by the Army Air Corps Band at Atlantic City later that same year.

The Percussion and African Ensembles will be performing various works by contemporary composers in both traditional percussion ensemble orchestrations and smaller chamber percussion combinations. The African Ensemble will be performing and dancing to traditional African chants that, among many cultures is a primary form of communication. The African Ensemble's performances have been well-received by the community and interaction with the ensemble and the audience is encouraged.

Admission to the concert is open and free to the public. For more information, contact Dr. Valarie Huffman at (304) 367-4206 or vhuffman@fairmontstate.edu.