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Symphonic Band to tour Midwest Feb. 15-20

February  04, 2013

Our name in lights: Kyle Soyer of the Augustana Photo Bureau took this shot during last year's tour.

The Augustana College Symphonic Band will begin its 2013 tour of the Midwest on Feb. 15, stopping at three locations in Illinois before continuing to Wisconsin, Minnesota and Nebraska. The band will return to perform its home concert at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, in Augustana's Centennial Hall. Admission is free to all concerts, and a freewill offering will be accepted.

For this tour, Dr. James Lambrecht, professor of music and director of the Augustana Symphonic Band, developed a diverse program for a band that has a long history at Augustana. The college's first ensemble was the Silver Cornet Band, formed in 1874. It enlisted as a unit in the U.S. Army during World War I, and ventured on its first Augustana student ensemble international tour in 1928. Out of the Silver Cornet Band came the college's current bands, the Augustana Concert Band and Augustana Symphonic Band.

Designed to appeal to a variety of listeners, the band's program is a balance of new and standard pieces to both entertain and educate the audience.

Born in 1882, Australian native Percy Aldridge Grainger composed two of the pieces in the program. "The Colonial Song" (1918) was one of Grainger's few original melodies. With strong roots in his Australian culture, Grainger mainly composed with melodies based on native folk songs, but took some risk developing his own sound in this piece. The second half of the program opens with Grainger's "The Gum-Suckers' March" (1914), featuring the same melody in "The Colonial Song." The curious title of Grainger's 1914 piece reflects his native Australian pride. "Gum-Sucker" is a nickname for Australians born in Victoria, Grainger's home state. This piece, like the title, successfully embodies the culture and spirit of Victorian natives.

From Grainger's standards to New Age pieces such as this year's concert opener, "Moving Parts," the goal for the Symphonic Band is educate and involve as many people as possible.

When asked about the benefit of touring, Dr. Lambrecht is quick to discuss the joy it brings everyone involved.

"It is an amazing experience to share music with others," he said. "Performing in venues all over really brings the music alive. These annual tours offer the opportunity to create a real experience with the audience."

Yet another aspect of tour that many students have been looking forward to is becoming part of the communities to which they are traveling.

Dena Baity '16 of New Lenox, Ill., is "really excited, having never participated in anything like this before. It will be really cool to stay with members of the community and share our music with them."

This year the band will play four joint concerts with high schools.

"It is great for the high school students, because they can see what being in a collegiate-level ensemble has to offer them." said Dr. Lambrecht.

Tour schedule

Feb. 15: Mendota, Ill., High School, 7:30 p.m. Joint concert with the Mendota High School Band.

Feb. 16: Des Plaines, Ill., Maine West High School, 7 p.m.

Feb. 17: Yorkville, Ill., Middle School, 7 p.m. Joint concert with Yorkville High School Band.

Feb. 18: Brookfield, Wis., Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, 7p.m. Joint concert with the Arrowhead High School Band.

Feb. 19: Prior Lake, Minn., Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church, 7 p.m.

Feb. 20: Omaha, Neb., Burke High School, 8 p.m.

March 9: Centennial Hall, Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill., 8 p.m.

Lauren Reid
Manager, Performance Tours and Arts Promotion
(309) 794-7323
laurenreid@augustana.edu