The UPEI Wind Symphony under the direction of Dr. Karem J. Simon, will be performing on Sunday, November 3 at 2:00 pm at Three Oaks High School in Summerside. This recital is done collaboratively with the TOSH Band program, which will also be featured.
For this performance, the Wind Symphony has taken on some very ambitious repertoire. Among the featured works is “Endurance” by the American composer Timothy Mahr. According to the composer, the work is a musical reflection upon the infinite endurance of the human spirit, the religious spirit, and the spirit of the earth. Initial inspiration for the piece came from a book of the same title by Alfred Lansing, documenting the amazing story of the ill-fated expedition of the Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton in 1914–1916. His ship, the Endurance, became ice-bound and eventually sank, stranding Shackleton and his crew of 27. They experienced over 15 months of life exposed to the unrelenting, dangerous Antarctic weather, and, miraculously survived to tell it. The strength of character exhibited by these men in enduring incredible hardships is truly awe-inspiring.
Concerto soloist for this performance is marimbist Branden Kelly. Kelly is a fifth-year UPEI music education major who hopes to continue his percussion studies at the graduate level next year. He has been highly active as a performance major, completing two solo recitals, being awarded the first prize in the most recent UPEI Performance Competition, and represented PEI at the National Competitive Festival of Music this past August. “The David Gillingham Marimba Concerto,” which he will perform, exploits the technical facility of the marimba, showcasing its diverse colours and styles.
Philip Sparke’s “Celebration,” a virtuosic work, will open the recital. It was written for the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra, one of the world’s finest wind bands. A sonorous, extended opening fanfare gives way to a busy Presto based of material derived from the fanfare in addition to contrasting lyrical themes. The evening will conclude with the delightful and energetic “Danse Diabolique” by Austrian Joseph Hellmesberger.
Each year, the Wind Symphony tours selected areas of the region to provide its membership with additional performance experiences and share its music with a wider audience. Performances scheduled this year will bring the Wind Symphony to Wolfville, NS, and Montague, PEI, in addition to collaborations with the PEI Intermediate Honour Band, and East Wiltshire Intermediate School bands.
During the past fifteen years, the Wind Symphony has produced an annual CD featuring selected repertoire from each year’s performances. Cathedrals, released in May 2010 received the 2011 Music PEI Award for Best Classical Recording. In February 2011, the Wind Symphony released its O Canada CD, a project exclusively for PEI public schools. Its most recent CDs, Freebirds, Lord of the Rings, and Four Horsemen have been highly acclaimed. Additional information, including audio tracks of the Wind Symphony, may be found at http://music.upei.ca/windsymphony.