Gustavus Wind Orchestra at College Band Directors Friday

Posted on February 23rd, 2016 by

The 2016 Gustavus Wind Orchestra, James Patrick Miller, conductor

The 2016 Gustavus Wind Orchestra, James Patrick Miller, conductor

For the first time in its 137-year history, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. James Patrick Miller, has been invited to perform at this year’s College Band Directors National Association on Saturday, February 27 on the Iowa State University campus. The performance, part of the North Central Division’s 2016 conference, will be presented in the Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall at 1:00 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public.

In a note announcing the honor last summer, Dr. James Patrick Miller wrote, “I am humbled and honored that the Gustavus Wind Orchestra has been selected to perform at the North Central College Band Directors National Association Conference. CBDNA is an organization that I have been closely involved with now for a long time, and to bring GWO to CBDNA for the first time is an honor that our students will be able to carry with them for their entire lives. This performance invitation places GWO squarely in the national spotlight in collegiate wind band performance; I could not be more proud of our students.”

The invitation followed an audition process by the association that included unedited recordings of 2014-15 performances, the entire past season repertoire and a proposed program for the conference performance. The North Central division of CBDNA includes collegiate and university programs in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas. The Gustavus Wind Orchestra, under the direction of James Patrick Miller, was the only collegiate ensemble from Minnesota invited to perform at this year’s conference.

For this conference titled “….. and all that Jazz,” Conductor James Patrick Miller has developed a program that reflects that theme. The Gustavus Wind Orchestra will open its concert with the Dmitri Shostakovich “Waltz” from Jazz Suite No. 2, led by Dr. Karrin Meffert-Nelson as guest conductor, followed by Gunther Schuller’s Nature’s Way under the direction of Dr. Heidi Johanna Miller. Former Director of Trumpet & Jazz Studies at Gustavus, Dr. Steve Wright, will then join Conductor Miller and the wind orchestra to perform Elegy for Miles Davis by Richard Rodney Bennett. The premiere performance of a new work, Dream Machine by composer Katherine Johns Bergman ’07, will follow. Bergman, a member of both the GWO and the Gustavus Jazz Lab Band while a student, was commissioned to write the piece for the ensemble’s 2016 spring concert tour. The Gustavus Wind Orchestra will conclude its performance with David Maslanka’s Symphony No. 4, with organist Dr. Chad Winterfeldt.

Conductor James Patrick Miller

Conductor James Patrick Miller

In comments this week, Dr. Miller wrote, “I am proud beyond belief of our students and their work preparing for this great honor. Sharing the excellence of what our music program does on a national stage is a rare opportunity and something we are all excited to undertake together. The members of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, representing almost all of our major areas of study, are truly outstanding ambassadors for everything that we do at Gustavus. Thank you to President Bergman, Vice President Crady, Provost Braun, Dean Paula O’Loughlin, and Dr. Scott Moore, chair of the music department for their support of this important artistic endeavor.”

“I also wish to acknowledge my colleagues Heidi Johanna Miller, Karrin Meffert-Nelson and Chad Winterfeldt for their hard work and dedication to our wind orchestra program and for their willingness to be involved in this project. Thanks too to our former trumpet and jazz professor, Steve Wright, and alumna/composer Katherine Bergman ’07 for accepting the invitation to join GWO at CBDNA. And, of course, none of this would be possible without the vision and leadership of Douglas Nimmo, who led the Gustavus Wind Orchestra for 27 years prior to my appointment.

“Our concert will begin at 1:00 p.m. on February 27 and we all hope that our supporters will make the drive to Ames to cheer us on. We all look forward to bringing what we do at Gustavus to CBDNA!”

The Gustavus Wind Orchestra/Gustavus Band was founded in 1878 as the first music ensemble at Gustavus Adolphus College and was a joint venture with the City of St. Peter. It is believed to be the oldest ensemble west of the Mississippi and has presented concerts throughout the United States, Scandinavia and Europe. Its touring history includes concert tours with the legendary Australian composer Percy Grainger, the first concert by an American ensemble in East Germany after the wall was opened in 1990 and performances across the country.

While conference attendance at the CBDNA is restricted to its members, attendance at the Gustavus Wind Orchestra’s concert on Saturday, February 27 is open to the public at no charge. GWO’s performance is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at the Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall on the Iowa State University campus in Ames, and will be live streamed at GWO @ CBDNA.


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