Puget Sound Youth Wind Ensemble to perform music of the American experience

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The Puget Sound Youth Wind Ensemble will perform a concert of music dealing with facets of the American experience at TCC on Nov. 12. Photo courtesy of PSYWE

On Nov. 12, the Puget Sound Youth Wind Ensemble (PSYWE) is scheduled to present its next concert, “America, Tributes and Tragedies.” The concert will take place at Tacoma Community College in Building 2 (its music auditorium) at 7 p.m. The concert will feature a program of compositions that muse upon the American experience, both the joyful and the sorrowful.

The program will begin with Virginia Allen’s “Women of the Podium March,” which Allen composed, in 1986, as the official march of the Women Band Directors National Association. Allen is a pioneer among women as participants in military bands. She was the first woman to conduct an active duty military band that included women.

Next on the docket is Frank Tichelli’s “An American Elegy,” which was composed as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the 1999 Columbine High School shootings. The piece is also a tribute to the strength and courage of those that survived the tragedy. Tichelli has said that the first eight bars of music came to him fully formed in a dream.

Following Tichelli’s composition, Josef Rheinberger’s “Abendlied,” an “Evening Song,” brings in a spiritual and meditative air from the 19th century.

Christopher Tucker’s “Americans Lost” comes out of the tragedy of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Tucker dedicated the four-part composition to the families of the victims. The four parts are “Fallen Remembrances,” “Tragedies,” “…ashes to ashes” and “Healing the Heart.”

Aldolphus Hailstork, an African American composer, wrote “New Wade ‘N Water” as a fluid reconfiguration or commentary on the traditional African American spiritual “Wade in the Water.” The old spiritual was a means of instructing fleeing slaves to move through rivers and streams in order to erase their scent and confuse the bloodhounds that were used to track runaway slaves.

The program will end with John Philip Sousa’s well-known march “Semper Fildelis.” The title means “Always Faithful.” This piece is now the official march of the United States Marine Corps, though it was originally composed at the request of President Chester Arthur as music to be played in honor of the president.

With this concert, Dr. John Falskow will make his debut as music director of the Puget Sound Youth Wind Ensemble. Falskow is director of instrumental music at Tacoma Community College, where he has also served as chair of the music department. He conducts the TCC Orchestra, TCC Symphonic Band, and teaches a variety of classes in the music curriculum. Falskow was formerly the music director of Puget Brass — a Seattle-based British brass band. Falskow is an active conductor, music educator, and trumpeter in the Northwest region.

PSYWE is celebrating its twelfth year. The organization is dedicated to advancing the talents of young musicians through the performance of outstanding repertoire in partnership with faculty of the highest caliber. PSYWE is comprised of exceptionally talented and motivated wind and percussion players from school music programs throughout the Puget Sound region, ages 11 to 21. Members benefit from the personal attention of expert conductors and coaches in a dynamic rehearsal environment that is at once challenging, nurturing, and educational.

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