The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 24, 2004

University And Concert Bands Share Concert Dec. 8

The University Band and Concert Band from the University of Iowa School of Music will present their end-of-semester joint concert for the 2004 fall semester at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The concert will be free and open to the public.

The University and Concert Bands, two of the concert wind ensembles in the UI Band Department, are open to UI students. They present at least one joint concert each semester.

The Concert Band is directed by Kevin Kastens, a member of the School of Music faculty who also leads the Hawkeye Marching Band during the fall semester and heads the All-State Music Camp Each June. The Concert Band will play five works:
-- "Aubrey Fanfare" by Jack Stamp, directed by UI graduate student Carl Collins;
-- the Second Suite in F by Gustav Holst, one of the classics of the British band repertoire;
-- "Aerodynamics," composed last year by David R. Gillingham;
-- Symphony No. 2 by John Barnes Chance; and
-- "Rolling Thunder" march by Henry Fillmore, as edited by Frederick Fennell.

Holst composed his Second Suite in 1911, but he was so preoccupied by the details of supervising a performance by Morley College students of Purcell's "Fairy Queen" that he forgot about the work until asked to compose another suite for military band in 1921. He made a few changes, and the finished suite of four movements was premiered on June 30, 1922, at Royal Albert Hall in London, by the Military School of Music Band conducted by Lt. Hector E. Adkins.

"Aerodynamics" was written to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the invention of flight by the Wright brothers. The programmatic work celebrates man's technological invention and creativity. The primary motivic material is taken from Scott Joplin's "Weeping Willow Rag," written in 1903, the year of the first successful flight.

"Rolling Thunder" is a great circus march. Fillmore, one of America's most successful and prolific composers, gave the descriptive term for the performance of this march as "furious," but circus musicians called these fast-moving compositions "screamers."

The University Band is directed by UI graduate teaching assistant Christopher Nicholas. They will perform five pieces that bring an international flavor to the program:
-- "Festal Scenes" by Yasuhide Ito, which is based on Japanese folk songs and incorporates Japanese percussion instruments;
-- "Australian Up-Country Tune," a folksong arrangement by Percy Grainger, an Australian native who spent most of his life in the United States;
-- "Cloudburst" by American composer Eric Whitacre, which was inspired by a northern-California thunderstorm;
-- "Night Dances for Wind Ensemble" by Bruce Yurko; and
-- "Puzsta," based on gypsy dances from Hungary and written by Belgian composer Jan Van der Roost.

"Festal Scenes" is based on four folk songs from the Aomori Prefecture of Japan. The piece is written for modern American Symphonic Band, with the addition of Japanese percussion instruments: the Tebiragane, a set of large antique cymbals; and the Nebuta-daiko, similar to a large bass drum. The fusion of eastern sounds and modern western harmonies creates fresh sounds new to American audiences.

Whitacre wrote, "'Cloudburst' was my second classical work, and was inspired by an astonishing thunderstorm I witnessed early in the spring of 1991 while on a concert tour in Northern California." Originally written for chorus, "Cloudburst" was adapted for wind ensemble in 2001, and includes audience participation on cue from the conductor in its recreation of the storm.

Yurko's "Night Dances" uses the full color palette of the wind ensemble to depict a variety of musical effects. The score uses 20th-century harmony with rhythmic and melodic motives and carefully crafted percussion scoring. Dark, brooding themes are juxtaposed with lyrical solos for trumpet, flute and oboe.

Kastens is associate professor of music and associate director of bands at the UI. He directs the Hawkeye Marching Band and the Concert Band, teaches band arranging and marching band techniques, and is the director of the All-State Music Camp.

Kastens has presented workshops and clinics on marching band techniques and computer drill design and appeared as guest conductor throughout the Midwest and Canada. He has had numerous articles published on instrumental music education in The Instrumentalist and other professional publications. A leader in the field of computer-assisted marching band drill design, he helped develop "Drill Quest," a drill-writing software program

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

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072,

PHOTOS are available at