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University of Iowa News Release


April 18, 2008

University and Concert Bands from the UI will share a concert April 30

Two bands from the University of Iowa School of Music will share a concert program, starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 30, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The concert will be the final performance of the semester for the Concert Band, under director Kevin Kastens, and the University Band, under director Michael Hart. Their shared concert will be free and open to the public.

A member of the School of Music faculty, Kastens is director of the Hawkeye Marching Band during the fall semester and director of the Iowa Summer Music Camps in the summer.

The Concert Band will open its portion of the program with "Rocky Point Holiday" by Ron Nelson, conducted by graduate student Trevor Loes. Kastens will then lead performances of "Blue Shades" by Frank Ticheli and "Armenian Dances," Part II by Alfred Reed.

Named for a wind-blown seaside resort on the coast of Rhode Island, "Rocky Point Holiday" exemplifies a characteristic type of composition for band that unites elements of jazz and classical construction into a modern indigenous American style.

Reed's "Armenian Dances" comprise four movements based on authentic Armenian folk songs. Part II  -- the second, third, and fourth movements -- is built on "Hov Arek" (The peasant's plea), "Khoomar" (Wedding dance) and "Lorva Horovel" (Songs from Lori).

Hart, a graduate teaching assistant in the School of Music, will lead the University Band in performances of "Mother Earth" by David Maslanka, "Elegy for a Young American" by Ronald Lo Presti, Arthur Pryor's virtuoso arrangement of "Annie Laurie," featuring graduate student Art Haecker as trombone soloist, and the "Courtly Airs and Dances" by Ron Nelson. Their program will close with "Circus Days," a march by Iowa native Karl King.

Maslanka, one of the most widely performed composers of music for band, said that the inspiration for "Mother Earth" came from the words of St. Francis of Assisi: "Praised be You, for our sister, Mother Earth, who nourishes us and teaches us, bringing forth all kinds of fruits and colored flowers and herbs." The composition is meant to serve as a representative of our planet's raw, life-supporting power.

Lo Presti taught composition at Texas Technical University, Indiana State College and Arizona State University. He wrote his well "Elegy For a Young American" 45 years ago, shortly after tragedy struck the United States when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Karl L. King, born in Ohio, began playing cornet at the age of 11. He later traded the cornet for a euphonium, which he played in local municipal and circus bands. He eventually settled in Iowa, where he directed the Fort Dodge Municipal band for more than 50 years. "Circus Days" is one of his 250 published works, including serenades, gallops, waltzes, overtures and his popular circus marches.

Kastens joined the UI faculty as director of the Hawkeye Marching Band in 1998. He also directs the Concert Band, teaches band arranging and marching band techniques, and is the director of the Iowa Summer Music Camps. He has presented workshops and clinics and appeared as guest conductor throughout the Midwest and Canada. For more information about Kastens, visit

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

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

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 (office), 319-541-2846 (cell),