Graceland University Symphonic Band Offers Audience Participation

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Press Release

February 11, 2019

Band students on stage in concert

The Graceland University Symphonic Band and audience will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Monday night, Feb. 18, in Carol Hall under the direction of band instructor Chee Yim. The theme of the concert is “Diverse,” and the program selections certainly support that title.

A feature of the evening will be a novel work, “in C,” by composer Terry Riley. Members of the audience will be invited to perform along with the band by playing short cells of music composed of just a few notes. The cells can be repeated as many times as the performer chooses. While each musician may be playing a different cell, all will keep time to the same steady beat provided by sophomore percussion major Emily Briggs.

There will also be a part for audience members who do not choose to play the cells. According to instructions, those not playing the cells “can improvise a soundscape.”

For the occasion, band members, Graceland non-music students and faculty came together to create a video link for those who would like to explore the work further before the concert. At https://www.graceland.edu/academics/visual-and-performing-arts/, there are a series of Riley’s cells performed by members of Graceland University.

While the beat stays the same throughout, the number of beats per measure changes while the performer plays a short sequence of notes. Performers include Audry Briggs, Emily Briggs, Widalys Cruz Gonzalez, Robby Donarski, Tamela Hill, Kim Manuel, Bobbie Moore and Nicole Snider.

How will this all work? Only the daring who come to the concert will know.

In addition to the experimental work by Riley, the band will present several more traditional pieces. Björk, a female Icelandic composer, will be featured in “Overture” from “Dancer in the Dark.” The Russian Orthodox choral tradition provides the inspiration for Chesnokov’s flowing, reverential “Salvation is Created.”

Expanding the score of the repertoire even more will be the band’s adaptation of J.S. Bach’s classic work for organ, “Prelude and Fugue in G minor.”

The concert is free, and the public is welcome.

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