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Release: April 23, 1999


JAZZ CONCERT MAY 2 -- The University of Iowa Jazz Lab Band will present its spring concert at 8 p.m. Sunday, May 2, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The Jazz Lab Band is directed by Michael Giles, a graduate assistant in the jazz studies area of the UI School of Music. The concert is free and open to the public.

One of 10 ensembles in the jazz studies area of the UI School of Music, the Jazz Lab Band is devoted to teaching the skills of sight reading, stylistic interpretation, sectional playing and solo improvisation in large jazz ensembles. The group, which features a full big-band instrumentation with brass, reed and rhythm sections, presents at least one concert on campus each semester.

The program for the May 2 concert will include works by current and former students in the UI jazz studies program, as well as pieces by major jazz artists. The "Black and Tan Fantasy" of Duke Ellington -- the centennial of whose birth occurs in 1999 -- will be featured, along with works by Thad Jones and Pat Metheny. Mike Cassady, a member of the band's trumpet section, is represented on the program with his "Scooter's First Swim Meet," and alumnus Rafael dos Santos, who played piano in various jazz ensembles at the UI, will be represented with "Deborah."

The Jazz Lab Band maintains its own page on the world wide web, at

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NATHAN ENGLANDER READS MAY 3 -- University of Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate Nathan Englander will read from his new book "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges" at 8 p.m. Monday, May 3, at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The reading is free and open to the public.

The reading will be broadcast live on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series, originating on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910.

Ann Beattie notes, "Every so often there's a new voice that entirely revitalizes the short story. It happened with Richard Ford, and with Denis Johnson, and with Thom Jones. It's happening again with Nathan Englander, whose precise, funny, heartbreaking, well-controlled but never contrived stories open a window on a fascinating landscape we might never have known was there. It's the best story collection I've read in ages."

Reviewer Greg Marrs wrote, "In his spectacular debut story collection, 28-year-old Nathan Englander portrays the human condition in all its wisdom, folly, exuberance, and sorrow, with a compassion and understanding rarely shown by so young a writer. . . . Outrageous, heartbreaking, and profound, 'For the Relief of Unbearable Urges' is a truly remarkable literary debut."

Englander grew up in New York and lives in Jerusalem. He is a recent recipient of the Pushcart Prize. "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges" has been printed in eight countries. Englander's fiction has appeared in Story magazine and The New Yorker.

In a recent interview for Bold Type, Englander described his experience at the UI: "A friend's mother who was an editor, and whom I was always bumming dinners off of, told me to bring her one of these things I was working on. She read it and really pushed me to fill out the application to Iowa, and I don't know if I'd be sitting here with you if I hadn't gone there. It's a tough place; you get a thick skin very quickly. If nothing else, it's a good place to have your peers beat you up and to have to run the gauntlet, so to speak. It's where I met my first readers, and I wouldn't trade them for the world."

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WOMEN'S CHORALE CONCERT MAY 4 -- The Women's Chorale from the University of Iowa School of Music will present its spring concert at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 4, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus. The performance, under the direction of graduate assistant Daniel Afonso, will be open to the public free of charge.

The Women's Chorale is a 31-voice ensemble that is filled by audition. The group presents performances both on campus and in the local community. This semester they have sung at the Iowa City Senior Center, the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the STUDIOLO Art Gallery.

For the May 4 concert the Women's Chorale will sing works ranging from the 12th-century chants of Hildegard von Bingen to the folk music of Harry Belafonte.

The featured work on the first half of the program will be the "Missa de Sao Sebastiao" (Mass of St. Sebastian) by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. After intermission the chorale will be assisted by harpist Gretchen Johnson in a performance of Johannes Brahms' "Vier Gesaenge" (Four songs), op. 17. Dancers Sara Semonis and Matthew Keefe and soprano Jennifer White will be featured in a performance of Lili Boulanger's "Les Sirenes" (The sirens). The program also includes works by Giacomo Carissimi, Antonio Vivaldi, Georges Bizet and Leonard Bernstein.

A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Afonso holds degrees from the University of Rio de Janeiro and the University of Missouri -- Kansas City. In 1988 he won first prize and a special award for the best performance of music by Villa-Lobos in the Concurso Villa-Lobos de Canto Coral, a national choral competition in Brazil. Afonso has worked with choral groups in Brazil and the United States, and has taught at the Conservatorios Brasileiro de Musica in Rio de Janeiro and at Doane College in Nebraska.

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CHRISTOPHER TILGHMAN READS MAY 4 -- Writer Christopher Tilghman will read from his new collection of short stories, "The Way People Run," at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 4, at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The reading is free and open to the public.

"Tilghman has now taken his place in a line of classic American writers -- among them
John Cheever, William Maxwell and Wright Morris," Edward Hirsch asserts.

Richard Eder calls Tilghman, "A true storyteller." And the late short-story writer Andre Dubus said, "[He] is a spiritual writer who often looks at things the rest of us cannot see."

Tilghman is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Writer's Award and the Ingram Merrill Foundation Award. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and other magazines, and stories from "The Way People Run" were included in the 1992 and 1994 editions of "Best American Short Stories."

The reading will be broadcast live on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series, originating on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910.

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TWO BANDS PRESENT CONCERT MAY 5 -- The University and Concert Bands from the University of Iowa School of Music will present their joint spring concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 5, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The University and Concert bands are two of the three concert wind bands at the School of Music. Both groups are filed by audition and are open to all UI students. Each will play half of the concert program.

The Concert Band is conducted by Kevin Kastens, who is also director of the Hawkeye Marching Band during the fall semester. They will perform two relatively new works for concert band, "Tempered Steel" by Charles Rochester Young and "As Summer Was Just Beginning" by Larry D. Daehn. The latter takes its title from the inscription on a bust of the actor James Dean that stands near Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles. Dean, who only made three movies, died in a car accident at the age of 24. The inscription is a Greek epitaph on the death of a young person.

Also on the Concert Band portion of the program are two popular pieces that have been programmed by concert bands across the country -- "La Procession du Rocio" by Joquin Turina, arranged for band by Alfred Reed, and "Rocky Pont Holiday" by Ron Nelson -- and "Whip and Spur," a circus march by Thomas S. Allen that has been arranged for modern concert band by Ray E. Cramer.

The University Band is conducted by graduate assistant Boyd Perkins. They will play five works on the concert: the Prelude and Fugue of Houston Bright; "Ye Banks and Braes O'Bonnie Doon" by Percy Grainger; "Fantasia di Concerto: Sounds of the Riviera for Euphonium and Band" by Eduardo Boccalari, arranged by Kent Akers and featuring undergraduate Jessie Walch as the euphonium soloist; the Third Suite for Band by Robert Jager; and Alfred Reed's arrangement of Johann Strauss' "Tritsch-Tratsch Polka."

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. At the UI Kastens directs the Hawkeye Marching Band and the Concert Band, teaches band arranging and marching band techniques, and directs the All-State Music Camp.

Kastens has been editor and contributing writer for Missouri Band Notes and written articles for the Music Educators Journal and other professional publications. He assisted in the beta testing and development of "Drill Quest," a marching band drill-writing software program, and he continues to be involved in the improvement of the program and the development of new features. He has presented workshops and clinics on marching band techniques and computer drill design and appeared as guest conductor at band clinics throughout the Midwest.