Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Concert, Jazz Bands Plan Fall Performance
Nov. 8—TIFTON — Sparkling sounds ranging from the marches of John Philip Sousa to the soulful tunes of Charlie Parker will sweep through audiences like a warm autumn sun on Nov. 15 when the ABAC Concert Band and ABAC Jazz Ensemble perform a concert concert starting at 7 p.m. at the Howard Auditorium on the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College campus.
The 40-member Concert Band, which now includes several South Georgia community members, will be led by Deborah Bradley. Andrew Peal, assistant professor of jazz and music theory, leads the jazz group. The concert is open to the public free of charge.
Bradley said the Concert Band will open the night with Sousa-style selections dedicated to all veterans.
“The program will open just as John Philip Sousa would have in the 1920s when he became America’s ‘Walking King’,” Bradley said. “After a classic piece, the band will welcome guest conductor Don Coates, founder of the ABAC Band program. He will lead a Sousa march, ‘La Belle de Chicago,’ written in 1892 for performance at the Chicago World’s Fair.”
Bradley said a special treat for the evening will occur when Donald Davis, the executive director of the Lowndes County Historic Society and Museum, brings to the stage an authentic Sousa Band uniform worn by Sousa’s first trombonist, Lester Gray. The uniform was used on the Sousa Band tour from 1919 to 1925. Gray lived for a short time in Lowndes County.
A special selection titled “Bamboo Warrior” will be conducted by Christina Huss, the piece’s composer. Huss is a popular composer who is entering the publishing scene after a full career teaching at several schools in South Georgia.
Fitzgerald High School Band director Jonathan Thurston, who is a member of the Air National Guard Band of the South, will be the guest solo artist. He will perform the classic solo theme from the film “The Man with the Horn”.
Bradley will then perform selections from “The Polar Express.” The music is taken from the original film score along with “Believe” and “Spirit of the Seasons”.
Sousa’s standout military march, “The Gallant Seventh,” with perhaps a short strain of “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” will serve as the grand finale to the evening’s orchestral portion.
When Peal and the Jazz Band take the stage, their music will spotlight songs that have been written or frequently performed by Charlie Parker, one of the world’s most influential alto saxophonists.
Peal said the jazz band’s numbers will include Parker’s “Billie’s Bounce” and “Little Suede Shoes,” as well as Jerome Kern’s “All the Things You Are” and George Gershwin’s “Summertime.”