CC Band and Ensemble join for concert Nov. 18

By: Lisa S. Icenogle
Photograph of trees and grass with the words "Simple Gifts, Grace, and the Beauty of the Earth."

The Casper College Concert Band and the Casper College Wind Ensemble will join for a free concert Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m.

Under the direction of Joshua R. Mietz, DMA, the “Simple Gifts, Grace, and the Beauty of the Earth” features not only beautiful music but a grateful group of students and director. “We are extremely grateful and count ourselves blessed to be able to share this music,” said Mietz.

A highlight of this concert will be the performance of two pieces specifically arranged by Mietz. “During the summer of 2020, I read some research that recommended ensembles such as ours should rehearse only groups no bigger than six members. With that information, I did some further research and kept running into woodwind and string quintets, but nothing written for a very small concert band,” he said.

What Mietz came up with was Johannes Brahms “Opus 18.” Written for six-string players, Mietz scored the piece to be playable by two different factions of players that he anticipated attending Casper College in the fall.

He also turned to Anton Reicha, who is known as one of the first composers to write original music for woodwind quintets. He selected Reicha’s “Opus 88.” “This particular piece was first scored for flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, and bassoon. Where possible, I kept the original instrumentation and then doubled with the additional players I anticipated, including three classical guitarists,” Mietz said, adding, “This music has never been heard like this before.”

The final pieces that the two groups will perform were written by Frank Ticheli, a well-regarded composer of band music, whose works cover a wide spectrum of expression, according to Mietz. “The largest of the three works we are to perform is called ‘Simple Gifts: Four Shaker Songs.’ Each of the four movements is a re-orchestration of melodies from the Shaker culture of the Eastern United States,” Mietz said. Many listeners will likely recognize the melody of the final movement “Simple Gifts” because Aaron Copland incorporated it into his movement of the same name from his “Appalachian Spring.”

The hourlong concert will take place in Wheeler Concert Hall. Masks and social distancing will be required. “Attendance in person is encouraged, but this concert will also be live-streamed on the music department’s Instagram channel at casper_college_bands.

The Wheeler Concert Hall is located in the Music Building on the Casper College campus.

Media contact: Lisa S. Icenogle

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