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Concert Bands set to perform in Leighton Concert Hall

Emily LeStrange | Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This Saturday, parents of the Class of 2010 can treat their ears to the exciting sounds of the Notre Dame Concert and Jazz Bands at the groups’ annual performance during Junior Parents Weekend (JPW).

Several accomplished conductors helped prepare over two hundred musicians for the upcoming performance, including Alison Thigpen, one of the Assistant Band Directors and a Co-Conductor of the Symphonic Band. Composed of the collective efforts of the New Orleans Jazz band, the Symphonic Band and the Symphonic Winds, the program promises to be an excellent way for both students and parents to experience the exceptional musical talent Notre Dame has to offer.

“[JPW] is a great opportunity for the parents of juniors to see their son or daughter perform in the band,” Thigpen said.

This year’s show, “Around the World with the Notre Dame Band,” includes musical pieces hailing from various foreign countries. The night’s musical numbers will include works from “Italy, Spain, Ireland and America, with of course some Notre Dame favorites,” Thigpen said. Specific pieces include Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” and jazz tunes by Duke Ellington and Herbie Hancock.

Thigpen promised that the Symphonic Winds and Symphonic Band will combine to perform “several pieces together,” including a number with the Notre Dame Trombone Choir. The performance concludes with combined musical chorus of the Notre Dame Victory March, bound to be a pleaser for students and alumni.

Thigpen encouraged audience members to look out for junior trumpet soloist Andrew Thomas as he takes the lead in “La Virgen de la Macarena.” Other notable soloists to watch for will include trumpet players Dave Condon and Tony Pawlicki, trombonist Anthony Parrish and bass trombonist Noah Franske.

In addition to the concert this Saturday evening, the Symphonic Band and Symphonic Winds will be performing in their annual spring concert on April 19. On Thursday, Feb. 26, the New Orleans Jazz Band will perform at the 51st annual Collegiate Jazz Festival.

Undoubtedly, the performance of the Symphonic Winds, Symphonic Band and Jazz Band is certainly a show bound to impress and entertain audience members this Junior Parents Weekend.

The annual Junior Parents Weekend concert is but one example of the impressive history of concert performance at the University.

“In addition to having one of the finest collegiate marching bands … Notre Dame has a long and rich tradition of concert performance,” Thigpen said.

Over 200 students participate in the three fall and three spring performances each year. Although the bands have traditionally been showcased in Washington Hall, they have found a new home in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC) since it first opened in 2004.

In addition to on-campus performances, the Symphonic Winds and Symphonic Band tours various parts of the country in the springtime, including Chicago, Detroit and Pittsburgh. This year, the musicians will be making a trip to Canada. In the past, Notre Dame musicians have been fortunate enough to visit various countries overseas, including Ireland, Sweden, Austria and England.

One of the ensemble’s most high-profile tours in recent years was their trip to China and Japan in the summer of 2008. The Concert Bands performed several pieces, including original compositions written by Dr. Kenneth Dye in honor of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

This year’s Notre Dame Concert and Jazz Bands Junior Parents Weekend Concert will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Leighton Hall of DPAC. Tickets are $5 for general admission and faculty and $3 for students. Visit performingarts.nd.edu for more information .