sealPurdue News

April 12, 2002

Purdue Bands Showcase offers musical treats for Gala Week

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue Bands Showcase concerts set a celebratory tone for Gala Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21, with a guest appearance by one of the nation's leading contemporary composers, a concerto by Purdue's top classical musician and innovative tunes that employ such effects as a water gong, blast sticks and a lion's roar.

Varsity, Collegiate and University Concert bands will be featured in the Bands Showcase I concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 20, in the Elliott Hall of Music. The Purdue Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Band and Alumni Band will be featured in the Bands Showcase II at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 21, in the Elliott Hall of Music. Both events are free.

Works by Missouri native David Holsinger, whose tunes are widely performed by collegiate and high school bands, will be featured at both concerts. Jay Gephart, Symphonic Band director, says many people should recognize Holsinger's music.

"His compositions are pretty unique and very rhythmic," Gephart says. "They use different effects to create unique and interesting sounds."

For many years, a Holsinger hymnsong has been part of the traditional repertoire played at Purdue commencements. The Gala Weekend concerts explore the full range of Holsinger's work through such pieces as "Scootin' on Hardrock," a jazzy depiction of a rural crossroads in Texas, "Havendance" and "Consider the Uncommon Man."

Sven Schreiber, a Purdue junior from Indianapolis, who plays the bassoon, will be featured in Johann Hummel's "Grand Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra" at Sunday's concert. Typical of the multifaceted students attracted to Purdue Bands' ensembles, Schreiber pursues a mechanical engineering degree but could just have easily pursued music at a major conservatory, Gephart says.

"Sven is without a doubt the most talented musician I've ever had the opportunity to work with – period," he says.

Gephart says the bassoon is one of the most difficult instruments to master.

"It really takes someone who's special, has a good ear and is very left-brained, very technically oriented," he says. "For someone his age, Sven plays with such a sense of maturity and knowledge. He's an intuitive musician with a lot of natural skill."

Schreiber won Purdue's annual concerto competition to earn the right to solo with the orchestra at its April concert. Schreiber says the Hummel concerto he'll perform is both lyrical and technically flashy with lots of octave jumps that display the bassoon's broad range.

"I like it a lot because it shows off the instrument, and it's kind of a fun piece, not super serious," Schreiber says.

Purdue Bands also uses these season-ending concerts to showcase some unusual compositions.

Two of the most intriguing are "Crystals" by Thomas Duffy, to be performed by the Collegiate Band on Saturday night, and "Celebrate/Celebration" by Daniel Bukvich, on the Symphonic Band's Sunday program.

Matthew Conaway, Purdue Band's graduate assistant who is conducting the Saturday piece, says Duffy drew the inspiration for his 1992 composition from tiny crystals that form massive objects, such as ice crystals in glaciers and rock crystals in structures like Stonehenge.

"The piece has the most strange effects, stuff you don't see all that often in band music," Conaway says.

Musicians will run their fingers around the edge of water-filled crystal glasses to create a high-pitched sound, for example, and a gong will be played as it's lowered into a large vat of water.

"That produces the kind of sound you expect to hear in horror movies," Conaway says. "It's a very eerie sound."

The composer also incorporates a lion's roar into the piece with instructions on how to rig a drum with a string and play it to obtain the desired effect.

Bukvich also includes unusual instruments and effects in his pieces, and "Celebrate/Celebration" is no exception.

"Every rhythm in the piece is based on the rhythm of those two words: celebrate and celebration," Conaway says.

Party horns and blast sticks – pipes played by hitting them on the palm of the percussionists' hands – are featured. The musicians also are called upon to whisper the words "celebrate, celebration" at various times to create a verbal percussion effect.

CONTACT: Kathy Matter, (765) 496-6785;

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Media interested in interviews should contact Kathy Matter, Purdue Bands public relations director, at (765) 496-6785.

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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