RIO GRANDE — The University of Rio Grande Symphonic Band, under the direction of Gary Stewart, will be performing their annual Spring Concert this Thursday, April 11 at 7 p.m., in the John W. Berry Performing Arts Theater. The annual event is free and open to the public.
The concert this year is entitled “Celebration of Dance” and features a professional dance couple from Charleston, W.Va. performing several of the dances on stage in front of the 50-member band. Many of the dances will feature latin rhythms the audience will enjoy. As in past concerts, video will be shown throughout the concert highlighting the musical program.
The program consists of “Amparito Roca” a Spanish march that features the Paso Doble style of dance. “Fiesta de los Toros” (Festival of the Bulls) will expose rhythms of the Habanera, Salsa, and many Afro-Cuban rhythms during the second tune on the concert.
“Swing from American Dances” will take the audience back to the 1920’s-1940’s swing era with styles including the Lindy Hop, Balboa, Collegiate Shag and Charleston. The band will be featured performing “Hoe Down from Rodeo” a ballet written by Aaron Copland, an American composer. Next on the program, the dancers are brought back on stage to perform “Mambo from West Side Story.”
The percussion section is featured playing “Trio Per Uno Mvt 1” for a trio that includes Levi Billiter, adjunct professor of percussion, Taylor Jones and Brett Sisson. A polka will be performed next on the program with the dancers coming to the stage for “Pie In The Face Polka from the Great Race.”
The band ends the evening performing “Symphonic Dances from Fiddler On The Roof,” which includes Tradition, Wedding Dance #1, Perechik and Hodel Dance, Chava Sequence, and To Life Dance.
Visitors to the concert will see new faces as well as familiar ones who were educated in local band programs performing in this collegiate ensemble. Stewart was the band director at Point Pleasant High School for many years as well as a music educator in several Mason County Schools before joining the staff at the University of Rio Grande.