The Tarleton State University Symphonic Band, under the direction of Dr. Gary Westbrook, presents its spring concert, “Inertia,” Sunday, April 17, featuring the Texas premiere of a work commissioned by a consortium of more than 60 U.S. bands.
The 3 p.m. public concert takes place inside the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center Auditorium. Admission is $5, or free with a valid Tarleton ID. The Symphonic Band is dedicating this Texas premiere of Five to Daniel Jones, member of Tarleton bands 2011-2016, who passed away suddenly on April 6.
The featured work, Five composed by Kenyon Wilson, associate professor of low brass and music theory at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, was commissioned by a consortium of bands—including the Tarleton Symphonic Band—to honor the sailor and four U.S. Marines killed in the July 2015 shooting in Chattanooga. In addition, the Tarleton Symphonic Band will present compositions by Robert Sheldon, Robert W. Smith, Samuel Hazo and Gary Gilroy.
The consortium includes 64 high school, university, community, military and brass bands from nearly all 50 states. Wilson specifically created the work for concert bands following a request from the Chattanooga Memorial Commission.
Two of the servicemen killed in the Chattanooga shooting performed for their high school bands and, when composing Five, Wilson said he wanted the song to have a solemn tone. “Everyone responds in their own way; I wanted to do something musical,” Wilson said. “One of the youngest victims (Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” Wells) was a clarinet player in his high school band for four years. That kind of hit a little closer to home and got things rolling.”
Wilson said his work on Five began as a personal means of coping with grief, but added that the enthusiastic, widespread response to the piece helped realize that goal before the first downbeat. “Here are all these groups with no connection to Chattanooga who are saying, ‘We want to honor these five and help in whatever way we can,’” he said. “Musically, they’re helping. I haven’t heard a note, and it’s already achieved that goal.”
Wilson’s UTC Tri-State Honor Band was the first to perform Five, and during the concert left five chairs empty on the stage to represent the victims of the shooting spree. Tarleton is one of four Texas schools to participate in the consortium, including Del Valle High School, Texas Woman’s University and Richmond’s Bush High School.
To learn more about the various bands and ensembles at Tarleton, visitwww.tarleton.edu/band.