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West Orange High School Spring Band Concert to Feature Unique Musical Works

Cynthia Cumming

Thursday, May 29, 2014 • 12:11am

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Thanks to a grant from the West Orange High School PTA, this year's Spring Band Concert will feature two new unique, techno-based original works: 'Machine Awakes,' to be performed by the Concert Band, and 'Foundry,' to be performed by Symphonic Winds.

"I am so excited for both pieces," said Band Director Erin McClure, and the students "are excited about performing the works because both are a little "different" than standard band literature."

The community is invited to the free concert on Thursday, June 5, beginning at 7 p.m. in the WOHS auditorium.

'Machine Awakes' is a techno-based piece by composer Steven Bryant that chronicles the 'birth' of a sentient machine (think 2001: A Space Odyssey). The electronics for this work are triggered from a computer (Macintosh or Windows) via a self-contained program.

'Foundry,' composed by John Mackey, celebrates the fact that percussionists "have the ability to make just about anything into an "instrument," says McClure.

"Snare drums and bass drums are great, but why not write a whole piece featuring non-traditional percussion, things like salad bowls and mixing bowls and piles of wood?"

McClure continued, "In some cases, I was specific about what instrument to play (timpani, xylophone, etc.). With many of the parts, though, I only described what sound I wanted and allowed the percussionist to be creative in finding the best "instrument" to make the sound I described."

 In addition to performances by the Concert Band and Symphonic Winds, the award-winning Wind Ensemble under the direction of Lew Kelly, and the Freshman Band, under the direction of Lisa Swanick, will perform.

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