The UCA Wind Ensemble performed as part of the Centennial Celebration of Bands with three guest performers and a commissioned piece.
The band took the Reynolds Performance Hall stage at 7:30 p.m. on April 17. The event lasted about two hours and featured seven songs.
State Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Bigelow), after being introduced by President Tom Courtway, congratulated the band on their success throughout the years at UCA.
The showcase followed two others, one in Dallas, Texas at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center on April 13, and another in Texarkana, Texas at Texas High School on April 14.
The night’s guest performers included trombone player Tony Baker, Assistant music professor Christian Carichner, and UCA artist-in-residence Neil Rutman.
All of the visiting solo artists are highly exalted in their professions.
The first piece for the evening was Charles L. Booker Jr.’s “Centra-Fuge,” which Associate Band Director Brantley Douglas conducted.
The second piece was Paul Dickinson’s “Rhapsody.” Rutman joined on piano during this song. This event was the first time this song has been played in front of a live audience.
The third song of the night was Brady Massey’s “In a Better Place.”
The fourth song, also in its world premiere, was “Good Cop, Bad Cop.” Carichner took the stage with the UCA Wind Ensemble to present the piece.
William Goldstein’s “Colloquy” was the fifth song. Baker, who is currently a faculty member at the University of North Texas College of Music, joined as the guest soloist.
David Gillingham’s “Crossover” also premiered for the first time in front of an audience as the sixth song played.
Karl L. King’s “The Purple Pageant,” the last song for the night, was conducted by former band director Russell Langston.
Band Director Ricky Brooks spoke about “Crossover.” Not only was this song a premier piece, but it was also a commissioned work. Brooks said they made a list of composers to consider asking to commission music for them. He said they were fortunate to have their first pick agree to make a composition for them.
“When you commission a piece of music you never know what you’re going to get,” he said. “To say that we are pleased with this music is a huge understatement.”
“Crossover” was inspired by an Eben Alexander book titled “Proof of Heaven.”
It is about one man’s journey into the gateway of an afterlife and back into the living world.
Senior flute player Kayla Copeland said the experience of performing in the Centennial Celebration of Bands was exciting for her.
“UCA has done so much for me as a musician during my whole career,” she said. “It was such an honor to be a vital part in such a celebration.”
Copeland said several students don’t get the opportunity to work closely with well-known artists.
“It was an exciting experience to be able to work with so many guest composers and soloists,” she said.