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News Relays Edition

The fine arts of Relays

Photo: Connor McCourtney


Drake Wind Symphony – 8 p.m. at the Performing Arts Hall

Drake University’s Wind Symphony will perform a concert titled “From Light to Dark and Back Again” at 8 p.m. tomorrow.

Director of Bands Robert Meunier gave the concert the name because the pieces the band plays take the audience and students on a journey from very light music to very dark music to uplifting sounds at the end.

The Chamber Ensemble will perform “Little Symphony For Winds,” composed by Franz Schubert, and “Winds on the Steppes,” composed by Dana Wilson.

The Wind Symphony’s performance will include “Ride,” by Sam Hazo, and “The Echo of God’s Laughter,” composed by Kenneth Lampl.

When picking the repertoire for the premiere winds and percussion group, Meunier said he expects excellence in the group.

“The song choices are designed to help with their growth in musical understanding and to challenge them,” Meunier said.  “The experience helps develop the musicianship of all the students within the group.”

In April, the Wind Symphony took part in a recording session for an untitled CD scheduled to be released in December 2011.  Meunier also considered that when choosing pieces for the last performance.

“Some of this music was chosen because it’s literature of really good quality, and we wanted to showcase our talents on the CD,” Meunier said.


Drake Concert Band – 8 p.m. at the Performing Arts Hall

Under the direction of Grady McGrannahan, assistant director of bands, the Concert Band and Wind Ensemble will perform Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the Performing Arts Hall.

“I ramped up the difficulty of the music, because I knew we had the right personnel for the pieces,” McGrannahan said. “Both groups are playing a lot of exciting music, so people will not be falling asleep at this concert.”

The Concert Band will perform pieces including “With Quiet Courage,” composed by Larry Daehn and the Norwegian March “Valdres,” composed by Johannes Hanssen and arranged by Glenn C. Bainum.

The Wind Ensemble’s performance will include Eric Rath’s “Oracle” and “Cantique de Jean Racine,” composed by Gabriel Fauré and arranged by Monty R. Musgrave.

McGrannahan said that Eric Rath wants a faster recording of his piece, so the band plans to send him a copy after the concert.

“This is something that can motivate the band to really perform well,” McGrannahan said.

Although McGrannahan said he doesn’t think the band has enough rehearsal time during the week, he feels the students step up to the plate and aim to be the best. The band’s performance level has been on a steady incline throughout the entire year.

“The band this year is the best that we’ve ever had,” McGrannahan said.


Drake Jazz Ensemble II – 8 p.m. at the Turner Jazz Center

Drake Jazz Ensemble II, under the direction of Associate Professor of Saxophone and Jazz Studies James Romain, will perform Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Turner Jazz Center.

This is the last performance of the semester for the 23-member band. It will include pieces the group has been working on this semester as well as works they’ve been practicing throughout the year.

The band will perform about a dozen different pieces.

Members of the event’s  audience will be able to enjoy music that will vary by style and composers. The program includes the songs “Big Dipper,” composed by Thad Jones, “You and the Night and the Music,” arranged by Matt Olson and “Moanin’” composed by Charles Mingus and arranged by Sy Johnson.

“I usually pick songs based on trying to create a variety for both the students playing and the audience,” Romain said. “I pick something that’s an interesting challenge for students to stretch them a little bit in a good way.”

In preparation for its last performance, the Jazz Ensemble will perform with the Des Moines Big Band at the Adventureland Inn in Altoona, today at 8 p.m.

“This is a neat opportunity for students to hear a band of players with 10-25 years of playing together,” Romain said. “It’s a great learning experience for the students.”

The FAC Box Office


  • Monday – Friday: 12 – 6 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday: 12 – 4 p.m.

PHONE: 515-271-3841

All three of these performances are free and open to the public


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1 Comment

  1. student April 25, 2011

    the Drake Symphony Orchestra will be performing Tuesday after relays as well.

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