UPEI Wind Symphony at St. Dunstan’s Basilica

UPEI Wind SymphonyBrandon Kelly is guest soloist

The UPEI Wind Symphony will perform its final recital of the Fall semester on November 21 at 7:30 pm. This performance will occur at St. Dunstan’s Basilica in downtown Charlottetown. The purpose of the change in venue is to ensure that all Wind Symphony patrons are able to attend and to take advantage of the aesthetic beauty that St. Dunstan’s offers. Capacity audiences have filled the Dr. Steel Recital Hall on the UPEI campus in recent years.

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Among the featured works in this year’s repertoire isEndurance by the American composer Timothy Mahr. According to the composer, the work is a musical reflection upon the infinite endurance of the human spirit, the religious spirit, and the spirit of the earth. Initial inspiration for the piece came from a book of the same title by Alfred Lansing documenting the story of the ill-fated expedition of the Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton in 1914-1916. His ship, the “Endurance,” became ice-bound and eventually sank, stranding Shackleton and his crew of 27. They experienced over 15 months of life exposed to the unrelenting, dangerous Antarctic weather, and survived to tell it.

Concerto soloist for this performance is marimbist Branden Kelly. Kelly is a fifth year Music Education major. He has been active as a performance major, completing solo recitals, being awarded the first prize in the most recent UPEI Performance Competition, and representing PEI at the National Competitive Festival of Music this past August. The David Gillingham Marimba Concerto, which he will perform, exploits the technical facility of the marimba, showcasing its diverse colours and styles.

Two major compositions by Englishmen will fill out the program. Philip Sparke’sCelebration is a virtuosic work. It was written for the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra, one of the world’s finest wind bands. A sonorous extended opening fanfare gives way to a busy Presto based of material derived from the Fanfare in addition to contrasting lyrical themes. Frank Bridge’s Pageant of London is a suitable companion to the well known band works by Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Gordon Jacob. This five movement work consists of two royal marches and three Renaissance dances. The evening will conclude with Danse Diabolique by Austrian Joseph Hellmesberger.

Performances scheduled this year will bring the Wind Symphony to Wolfville, NS, and Summerside, PE, in addition to collaborations with the Montague Schools’ Band programs, PEI Intermediate Honour Band, and East Wiltshire Intermediate School Bands.

During the past fifteen years the Wind Symphony has produced an annual compact disc featuring selected repertoire from each year’s performances. Cathedrals, released in May 2010 received the 2011 Music PEI Award for Best Classical Recording.

Tickets for this performance may be acquired at the UPEI Music Department and at the admission’s desk the evening of the recital.