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Release: Feb. 1, 2002

NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: Zdechlik is pronounced ze'DECK-lick

UI Symphony Band concert Feb. 16 highlights Honor Band Weekend at UI

The University of Iowa Symphony Band will present a free concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16 in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus. Myron Welch, director of UI bands, will conduct the concert, which will also feature guest conductor John Zdechlik.

The concert is part of the annual Honor Band Weekend at the UI. Each year approximately 125 high school musicians from around the state are invited to campus to play with a distinguished guest conductor and to attend clinics on their individual instruments.

The high school Honor Band will present its own free concert, with Zdechlik as the guest conductor, at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17 in Hancher Auditorium.

The Feb. 16 concert, by the Symphony Band is a preview of the concert that the ensemble will present at the national convention of the American Bandmasters Association (ABA) March 7 in Wichita, Kansas. The American Bandmasters Association, the country's most prestigious band organization, was founded in 1929 by the famed band conductor/composer Edwin Franko Goldman.

The theme of the concert is "Music with an ABA Connection." Each of six works on the concert was written by, for, or in memory of an ABA member.

Works on the program will be "Pacific Fanfare" by Frank Ticheli; Overture to "The School for Scandal," by Samuel Barber; Zdechlik's "Hats Off to Thee"; "Parade" from the "Pacific Celebration Suite" by Roger Nixon; John Philip Sousa's "Solid Men to the Front"; and a band arrangement of the Finale from the opera "Andrea Chenier" by Umberto Giordano.

Ticheli is composer-in-residence of the Pacific Symphony and a member of the faculty of the University of Southern California. His many works for concert band have won both critical accolades and major awards.

His "Pacific Fanfare" was completed in 1994, as a gift to conductor Carl St. Clair and the Pacific Symphony. The score is a tribute to the Venetian composer Giovanni Gabrieli, who made use of the space of St. Mark's Cathedral with multiple choirs and antiphonal fanfares. In a similar way, Ticheli divides the brass and percussion section into two choirs, adding a solo trumpet and horn that play from backstage. The UI Symphony Band is playing from a pre-publication copy of Ticheli's band arrangement of the original, written for an orchestral wind section.

Nixon, who taught at San Francisco State University, wrote the "Pacific Celebration Suite" for the 1976 bicentennial of the city of San Francisco. The San Francisco Presidio and the Mission San Francisco des Asis were established in 1776, when California was still Spanish territory; thus

San Francisco had its bicentennial in the same year as the United States. The score embodies imagery from the early history of San Francisco.

Zdechlik's "Hats Off to Thee" was written in memory of Frank Bencriscutto, director of bands from at the University of Minnesota 1960-92 and one of Zdechlik's teachers. Originally composed for brass choir, it will be performed in Zdechlik's recent edition for full symphonic band.

Composed in 1918, "Solid Men to the Front!" is one of Sousa's marches with a definitely military flavor. It is one of several marches Sousa wrote to appeal to the patriotic fervor of World War I, including the "U.S. Field Artillery" and "Sabre and Spurs." It was premiered at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, at a benefit concert for the State Women's War Relief, performed by Sousa and the combined bands of the U.S. Navy's Atlantic Fleet.

Typifying the "verismo" style of Italian opera at the turn of the 20th century, Giordano was primarily concerned with intensity of action and theatrical effectiveness in his operas. "Andrea Chenier," premiered in 1896, is set in the time of the French Revolution. The title character was a historical figure who returned to France from London, where he was secretary to the French ambassador. With the revolution at its height, he came under suspicion and was forced into hiding. Arrested by chance, he was executed in 1794 at the age of 31.

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. 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.

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.

A native of Minneapolis, Zdechlik graduated from the University of Minnesota with a doctorate in music composition and theory. He taught for two years at the high school level, and for more than 25 years was on the faculty of Century College in White Bear Lake, Minn., where he taught music theory, conducted the concert and jazz ensembles and served as chair of the Music Department. He retired from Century College in 1997.

A prolific composer, Zdechlik has more than 30 works published by the Neil Kjos Music Company. His works are performed by high school, college and community bands in the United States, Europe and Japan. Zdechlik has conducted in 35 states, Japan, Scotland and England. He is also a jazz pianist, and in the summer of 1990 led a two-week State Department-sponsored tour of Paraguay and Uruguay with his 17-piece big band.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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