Concert features a bluegrass concerto, middle school band, and handbells

Flautists in the Yale Concert Band

A bluegrass mandolin concerto, the world premiere of a new piece with the Fair Haven Middle School Band, and a special performance by the Yale Handbell Ensemble will highlight the Yale Concert Band’s spring concert on Friday, April 13.

The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Woolsey Hall, 500 College St. It is free and open to the public.

The mandolin concerto “From the Blue Ridge” is by composer and mandolin soloist Jeff Midkiff, who received the Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award in 2017. “From the Blue Ridge” has been performed at such venues as the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. This will be the premiere of the wind band version.

The Fair Haven Middle School Band, directed by Dan Kinsman, will join the Yale Concert Band to present the world premiere of “Scalin’ and Wailin’,” composed by Thomas C. Duffy, director of University Bands, and commissioned by the American Composers Forum BandQuest Project.

The program will also feature Dana Wilson’s “Shakata: Singing the World Into Existence,” a “collective ritual” inspired by the Indigenous Australians’ belief that the land did not exist until their ancestors sang it into being. This composition calls for the musicians to speak and chant as well as play their instruments, creating a distinctive sonic effect.

Percy Grainger’s “Bell-Piece” is based on a simple melody by Renaissance composer John Dowland. Grainger was said to sing this melody every night in his later life, and reworked “Bell-Piece” repeatedly. He added a part written specifically for his wife, Ella, which will be performed by the Yale Handbell Ensemble. Grainger died before he finished this last piece. It was reconstructed and completed by Duffy.

The concert will also feature Gustav Holst’s “First Suite in Eb” and “Mars: Bringer of War,” as well as the world premiere of Ryan Lindveit’s “Don’t Be Evil.”

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