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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 14, 2004

New Horizon Band Celebrates Halloween In Music Oct. 31

The New Horizons Band, jointly sponsored by the Johnson County Senior Center and the University of Iowa School of Music, will give a free concert of "spooky" music at 3 p.m. on Halloween -- Sunday, Oct. 31 -- in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Don Coffman from the UI School of Music is the conductor of the New Horizons Band, whose members are 50 and older.

"I've prepared a program that includes well-known orchestral pieces with allusions to the spooky and the supernatural, in arrangements for concert band," Coffman said. "The New Horizons Band for retired senior citizens will be conducted by myself and three undergraduate music majors pursuing teaching certification -- Tom Isaacson, Tabath Klopp, and Lindsey Loyd.

"All of us will be donning costumes for the occasion."

The program will feature eight pieces:

--Medley from "The Phantom of the Opera" by Andrew Lloyd Webber, as arranged for band by Johnny Vinson.
--Modeste Mussorgsky's famous musical depiction of a "Night on Bald Mountain," arranged by Lloyd Conley.
--"In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Edvard Grieg, arranged by Conley.
--"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" by Paul Dukas, made famous in Disney's "Fantasia" as a musical depiction of sorcery, in a band arrangement by James Curnow.
--"Danse Macabre" by Camille Saint-Saens, arranged by Mitchell Bender.
--"Funeral March of a Marionette" by Charles Gounod, which is known to band members if not later generations as the theme music for Alfred Hitchcock's television program of the 1950s and '60s, arranged for band by Steven Squires.
--Selections from John Williams's score for the film "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," arranged by Ralph Ford.
--"Nobles of the Mystic Shrine" march by John Philip Sousa, arranged by Jack Bullock.

The most successful stage musical of all time, "Phantom of the Opera" has worldwide ticket sales exceeding $3 billion and has been seen by more than 100 million people. The story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera, "Phantom" is the second longest-running musical on Broadway, behind "Cats." The medley contains: "Phantom of the Opera," "All I Ask of You," "Think of Me," "Angel of Music" and "Music of the Night."

A perfect piece for a Halloween concert, "Night on Bald Mountain" is best known as a depiction of the witches' Sabbath, as portrayed in the animated version in Disney's "Fantasia." The original title, "St. John's Night on the Bare Mountain," suggests a more religious intent, but in any case the score provides a showcase for the players in the New Horizon Band, particularly the low brass, clarinets and flutes.

"Danse Macabre" is Saint-Saens' representation of the medieval "dance of death," with death portrayed as a gruesome fiddler who plays grotesque tunes. Most famously, the score uses the dry rattle of the xylophone to represent the clattering of the skeletons that dance to death's tune.

One of the leading French musicians of the late 19th century, Gounod is known for his operas, masses and songs. He wrote the "Funeral March of a Marionette" as a tongue-in-cheek parody of a music critic that he had come to detest. Alfred Hitchcock became indelibly associated with this quirky tune, because it was used as the theme for his "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" television shows from 1955-1965.

Though not connected with sorcery or the supernatural, "Nobles of the Mystic Shrine" is included on the program for its exotic nature. Sousa wrote the piece for the fellow Shriners in his band, and emulated the sounds of a Shrine band with the triangle and tambourine parts.

The New Horizons Band provides opportunities for adults 50 and older to learn or resume playing a musical instrument and enjoy playing with others. Rehearsing at the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center, it includes both novices and players who are reacquainting themselves with their instruments. Since its establishment in 1995 the program has grown from 24 to 68 members and has expanded to include four bands -- the concert band, plus polka, swing and Dixieland bands -- with a total of more than 200 performances.

It is part of a nationwide New Horizons Project sponsored by the National association of Music Merchants and the National Association of Band Instrument Manufacturers. More information is available on the web at or

A member of the music education faculty at the UI, Coffman has more than 20 years of teaching experience spanning all age levels. He currently teaches courses in conducting, methods for teaching instrumental music in schools, psychology of music and techniques for researching and measuring musical behaviors.

An active researcher in life-long learning in music, he is research chair for Iowa's Music Educators Association and a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Research in Music Education, published by the Music Educators National Conference. His articles regularly appear in music education research journals including the Journal of Research in Music Education, Update, Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, Psychology of Music and Psychomusicology.

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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