The Kokomo Park Band will present its annual Winter Concert at IU Kokomo’s Havens Auditorium on Sunday, Feb 16.
The free concert begins at 2 p.m. with pre-concert music provided by the IU Kokomo flute choir in the lobby. The event will feature the IUK Cougar Choir, trombonist John Huntoon, vocalist Cherresa Lawson, and College Student Solo Winner Zachary Brown on xylophone. Randy Greenwell is guest conductor.
The concert theme, "Leaping Through February," celebrates Valentine's Day, GroundHog Day, Black History, Presidents' Day, and the final weeks of winter.
To further advance the seasonal theme, “Petersburg Sleighride” by 19th century German composer Richard Eilenberg depicts a horse-drawn trek through the wintry backroads. A noted favorite of European salon music, this music paints a picture of a wintry romp through the snow.
“Snowday Celebration” by Alan Stein brings back memories of elated times in the days before eLearning. Very seldom would you find two words that produced such feelings of happiness as "snow day!" The piece captures those same feelings of freedom and playfulness.
“Midnight Sleighride” Is a jazzed up version of Sergi Prokofiev's familiar Troika from “Lieutenant Kije.” The original music was from a 1934 satirical Soviet film. The Sauter-Finegan Orchestra recorded an up-tempo swing version in the 1950s which recently has been adapted for concert band by Tom Wallace.
Completing the wintry theme, vocalist Lawson will sing “Let It Go” from the Disney musical “Frozen.” Lawson is a frequent performer on the KPB stage, known best for her jazz and gospel singing for which she has earned numerous awards nationally. She is the director of vocal music at Kokomo High School and leads the acclaimed Karisma Singers show choir.
In remembrance of Valentines Day, the concert will include “Canzoni d’Amore” (Songs of Love), a lyrical medley of three beautiful, classic Italian love songs arranged by Robert Longfield. Featured songs include “Serenata,” “Caro Mio Ben,” and “Torna A Surriento.”
So as not to forget Feb. 2, Pennsylvania Dutch folk lore, and the important work of Punxsutawney Phil, “The Groundhog’s Lament” by Daniel Kallman depicts the gradual awakening, increasing anticipation and stark disappointment in store for the groundhog on his big day.
In honor of Black History Month, the KPB will pay tribute to the great Louis Armstrong, one of America’s most famous and revered musicians. It is only recently that his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement have been recognized. Armstrong fought by joining people through his music, integrating black, white, rich, and poor. The selections are “What A Wonderful World,” When The Saints Go Marching In,” “St. Louis Blues,” and “Hello Dolly!”
In recognition of Presidents’ Day, the KPB will perform “Presidential Polonaise” by Sousa and music from the motion picture Lincoln” composed by John Williams.
After becoming disenchanted with “Hail to the Chief” as the salutation for POTUS, President Chester Arthur requested that Sousa compose something “more suitable.” During that era “Presidential Polonaise” was used for all state affairs at the White House.
Steven Spielberg's powerful movie “Lincoln” brought an equally moving soundtrack from master composer John Williams. The melodies heard are “The American Process,” “The People's House,” and “With Malice Toward None.”
The concert will conclude with a grand finale presentation with IUK’s Cougar Choir, which is under the direction of Professor Wendy Grice. “America the Beautiful” is one of the most beloved and popular of American patriotic songs. This arrangement for concert band was made by Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra conductor Carmen Dragon (1914-1984).
Greenwell is the conductor of the Greenwood Community Band and an educational sSupport manager for Conn-Selmer Inc. He travels the country, working with bands, music educators, and collegiate music majors, presenting clinics on a host of topics and assisting schools with their music education initiatives.
Greenwell was deemed a “Distinguished Citizen of Indianapolis,” and in 2000 he was named the Phi Beta Mu “Indiana Outstanding Bandmaster of the Year.” In the 2018, Randy was inducted into the Music for All/ Bands of America Hall of Fame.
Brown, winner of the KPB College Student Solo Competition, is a percussion performance major in his final year at Purdue University Fort Wayne (PFW). At PFW, he has been a part of its Symphonic Wind Ensemble for the last five years. As a member of the ensemble, he performed in New York’s famous Carnegie Hall in 2016 and toured Europe in 2018, serving as percussion section leader.
To set the mood for the afternoon, the band will open with “Winter Dances” by Brian Balmages. It is a modern composition with spirited rhythms and lyrical melodies, providing an effective vehicle to show off the capabilities of a contemporary wind band.
Huntoon, principal trombonist of the KPB, will perform “Thoughts of Love"' by the famous Sousa Band trombonist virtuoso Arthur Pryor.
Huntoon received his music degrees from Millikin University in Illinois and Bowling Green State University in Ohio. From 1998 until 2017, John was on the faculty at Anderson University in Indiana, serving as director of low brass, brass ensembles, and jazz ensemble. He was also assistant director of bands, and, most recently, director of bands.
He is the principal trombonist with the Anderson Symphony Orchestra, and Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre Orchestra. Huntoon has performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Evansville Philharmonic, Marion Philharmonic, Lafayette Symphony Orchestra, Kokomo Symphony Orchestra, and Busselli-Wallerab Jazz Orchestra.
This activity is made possible, in part, by the Community Foundation of Howard County, the office of the Center Township Trustee, the Tippecanoe Arts Federation, a regional partner of the Indiana Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. The KPB Winter Concert is the official kickoff for its 2020 fund-raising campaign. Individual contributions are its primary source of support. Donations of any amount are welcome and may be sent to Kokomo Park Band, Inc; P.O. Box 6039; Kokomo, IN 46904.