Arkansas Tech musicians prepare for long-awaited Carnegie Hall show

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RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Arkansas Tech University Symphonic Wind Ensemble is preparing for an opportunity that has been more than two years in the making.

The group will perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Wednesday, December 15, at 7 p.m. (Central Standard Time). Bands from Cabot High School and Russellville High School will also perform at Carnegie Hall that evening.

It will mark the culmination of a process that began in summer 2019, when it was announced that the ATU Symphonic Wind Ensemble had been selected to perform at Carnegie Hall in May 2020. But after the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the ATU Symphonic Wind Ensemble went silent for 17 months.

“When we started to rebuild, Carnegie Hall offered the reschedule date of Dec. 15, 2021,” said Dr. Daniel Belongia, ATU Director of Bands. “In many ways, that was too soon, and we certainly didn’t predict the resurgence of the Delta variant. But, that concert date gave us the best chance to involve as many of the students as possible that were to have participated in May 2020, so we went for it.”

The ensemble had previously assembled an entire repertoire and had begun learning it and rehearsing.

For many reasons, it became clear that we should rebuild the program from scratch. I believe that it’s officially Carnegie concert repertoire version 19. Eighteen permutations before landing here. It’s been a winding road, and I got a lot of help from a lot of people. Now that we’re here, some of the most beautiful music that I’ve ever conducted by those dear friends Dooley, Magnuson and Stephenson aren’t on the program anymore. That saddens me, but I cherish the memory of our experience with that music in early 2020. Except for that loss, I’m now beyond excited about the program.”

Dr. Daniel Belongia, ATU Director of Bands

The show the ATU Symphonic Wind Ensemble will take to Carnegie Hall now includes “Celebration” by ATU music faculty member Philip Parker, a “Copland Suite” of music by Aaron Copland, “Soul” from “Concerto for Wind Ensemble” by Kevin Day and “A Lincoln Address” by Vincent Persichetti.

Following an intermission, the performance will continue with “My Jesus, Oh What Anguish” by Johann Sebastian Bach as arranged by Alfred Reed and the third movement of “Symphony No. 8” by David Maslanka.

The ATU Symphonic Wind Ensemble will offer a preview of its Carnegie Hall show during a home concert at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21, at Witherspoon Auditorium.

A live stream of the Nov. 21 performance will be available at https://bit.ly/atumusiclive. Due to COVID-19 precautions, in-person attendance at Witherspoon Auditorium will be limited to invited guests of the performers.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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