Friday, June 24, 2011


 It has been nearly a year since I have posted anything on the TSWS blog and, quite frankly, that is unforgivable.  So, to all of our fans (assuming that there are any!) who have been awaiting my pithy commentary on our current offerings, I beg your forgiveness.

We have had a great start to the 2011 Summer Season--our seventeenth!  The very first piece we performed (even before the Star-Spangled Banner) was a new fanfare, written JUST FOR US by the gifted Adam O'Dell, a recent graduate of Senior High School and soon-to-be student at Clarke University.  If you didn't get a chance to hear A Tri-State Fanfare, fear not; we now play it at the opening of every concert.  We have many people to thank for the continued success of the Tri-State Wind Symphony and our deepest appreciation goes out to all of the individuals as well as civic and corporate sponsors who contribute their time, talent and fiscal resources to make these concerts possible.  These include, but are not limited to Westminster Presbyterian Church, The City of Dubuque, Mediacom, Shopko, American Trust and Savings Bank, the Dubuque Senior High School Bands, and the tireless efforts of our Board of Directors.

Our next concert on Thursday, June 30 promises to be a big favorite because it's our annual Star-Spangled Spectacular! American Trust, a long-time supporter of this event, is once again our concert sponsor. American Legion Post 6 will be on hand with the presentation of the colors as well as our salute for our servicemen and women with Bob Lowden's marvelous Armed Forces Salute.

Pierre LaPlante
Wisconsin composer Pierre LaPlante has ties to the Tri-States as a former principal bassoonist with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra. For many years he has quietly been arranging a large number of folk songs from different traditions into outstanding works for the wind band. American Riversongs is a new work to our repertoire and includes Down the River, Shenandoah, Stephen Foster's The Glendy Burke, and an old Creole "Bamboula" tune that has found its way into a number of pieces, including Gottschalk's Night in the Tropics.

One expects to come to a patriotic concert to hear John Philips Sousa and, of course, we will not disappoint. Regular TSWS concert-goers know that they will always hear Stars and Stripes Forever, but this concert will offer another, lesser-known (but still wonderful!) march, The Invincible Eagle.

A few years ago we offered Dwayne Milburn's American Hymnsong Suite, a marvelous arrangement of what were originally composed for the pipe organ. Familiar tunes include Wondrous Love, Balm in Gilead, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, and a delightful march setting of When We All Get to Heaven. Astute concert-goers may even note that this suite takes on the form of a little symphony, with a prolonged first movement, a slow responsive movement, a scherzo and the closing march.

Morton Gould
Morton Gould is best known to audiences because of his American Salute, a version of "When Johnny Comes Marching Hone" written literally overnight in the 1940s. Originally an "orchestra snob," Gould was of the mind that the wind band was not a medium for serious music, until he heard the University of Michigan Symphony Band perform his Cowboy Rhapsody. Filled with familiar tunes of the old west, it marked Gould's first "real" tune for winds but certainly not his last. He would go on to publish 47 compositions for the band, including his fourth symphony, subtitled West Point. This piece is new to the band as well (we found it dust-covered and languishing in the vault at Dubuque Senior HS), but I'm sure that it will find its way into future programs (as well as however many of Gould's "gems" I can get my hands on).

2011 marks the 30th anniversary of the great film Raiders of the Lost Ark and what better excuse for a medley! Jack Bullock's arrangement includes both the "Raider's March" and the hauntingly gorgeous "Marion's Theme."

Of course there will be an annual concert staple, Alfred Reed's Rushmore, and, who knows, maybe even a few surprises. Let's hope there are none for the band (or the conductor).

So come and support live community music, something we are still very fortunate to have (count our lucky stars).

Eagle Point Park

Date: Thursday, June 30
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: Eagle Point Park, Dubuque

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See you there!