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Ridge Winter Band Concert Featuring "Russian Christmas Music"

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Ridge Winter Band Concert Features Russian Christmas Music

The Ridge High Music Department’s Concert Band and Wind Ensemble present their annual Winter Concert on Thursday, December 6.  The concert begins at 7 pm at the Ridge Performing Arts Center.   Admission is free, but donations are accepted.

The Concert Band will perform four works.  Ascend, composed in 2004 by Samuel Hazo, is a lively work with a variety of meters and contrasting styles.  A Renaissance Revel, by Belgian composer Tielman Susato, is a three movement suite of renaissance dance tunes that are the equivalent to our own modern popular music. 

Hymn for Band, composed in 1985 by Hugh Stuart, is a beautiful and simple tune with marvelous counterlines and harmonies.  The Concert Band portion of the concert concludes with a transposition of Czech composer Antonin Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance No. 7.  This exciting Slavic style dance was originally composed for piano four hands, but Dvorak’s arrangement for orchestra has achieved extraordinary popularity.

The smaller Wind Ensemble will perform three works.  English Composer Gustav Holst’s First Suite in Eb was one of the first serious pieces of music composed specifically for the wind band.  This popular work is based around the simple baroque Chaconne.

Alfred Reed’s Russian Christmas Music, based on Eastern Orthodox liturgical music, was commissioned in 1944 for a concert aimed at improving Russian and American relations after World War II.  Although the concert could do little to stop the subsequent cold war between the super powers, the piece has become a standard for American wind bands.

The Wind Ensemble concludes its portion of the concert with American Grammy award winning composer Eric Whitacre’s Noisy Wheels of Joy.  Influenced by movie soundtracks, the composer described the work as “Prokiev meets John Williams meets the Overture to Candide”.

The combined bands will conclude the concert with two traditional holiday works: A Hanukkah Festival, arranged by New Jersey band director Chris Bernotas and A Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson.

Ridge band director Dan Zugale said that this year’s concert will be “outstanding”, in spite of the loss of precious rehearsal time due to the storm.  Citing the benefit of extra rehearsals, Zugale said “I am truly proud of all of the kids for working so hard.”

Come and celebrate the holiday season with these Ridge ensembles! 


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