Modern Masterworks

Thursday, February 24, 2022 | 7:30 pm | Wentz Concert Hall | Naperville, Illinois

With Special Guest, the Plainfield Central High School Wind Ensemble,
Christopher Vanderwall & Amy Mullard, conductors

From the Music Director

Welcome to the first season of The Naperville Winds, an organization comprising musicians across Chicagoland (and beyond) who share one common mission– to perform the finest wind band literature available at the highest level possible. This ensemble coalesced quickly; the energy and excitement at the first rehearsal on August 26, 2021 was palpable, and, immediately after rehearsal, it was clear that we were at the beginning of a truly special journey.

The road to today’s performance hasn’t been easy. In order for a major ensemble to establish itself in the time of COVID, it must overcome myriad problems and challenges. We faced these head-on, knowing full-well the daunting challenges we’d face, and we overcame them all, together. The collective “brain trust” of the ensemble–through each member’s experience, outside-the-box thinking, and quick problem solving skills–has allowed us to deftly navigate around the detours and roadblocks and continue on our path, unwaveringly, toward our shared goal. Our first season is, therefore, not just a celebration of music, but a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

It has been an absolute joy to make music with the members of The Naperville Winds these past months. I am humbled by the collegiality, selflessness, energy, and of course, talent, that each member brings to the table. I strongly believe that The Naperville Winds will soon be a household name for lovers of wind band repertoire throughout the nation and the world. I sincerely hope you will support us throughout this incredibly journey!

Sean Kelley, D.M.A.
Music Director, The Naperville Winds


The Plainfield Central High School Wind Ensemble

Flourish for Wind Band

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

This short work (only about 90 seconds long) was scored for military band with numerous clarinets, cornets, saxophones, euphoniums and timpani. Having been written as an overture to a pageant in the Royal Albert Hall, the score was then lost — only to reappear in 1971. Upon its discovery the work was adapted twice by Roy Douglas — first for brass band and then for symphony orchestra. The orchestral version is scored for wind instruments, together with double basses, timpani and percussion. This version had its first performance by the Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra in 1974. The original and the adaptations have all been published by Oxford University Press, although no recordings are known.

Ralph Vaughan Williams, a highly respected English composer, wrote some of the earliest works for twentieth-century concert band, with many of his pieces considered pillars of band literature. Flourish for Wind Band was written as an overture to the pageant Music and the People performed in the Royal Albert Hall in 1939. The score was then lost, only to reappear in 1971. It was not made available to American bands until it was published in 1972. Flourish for Wind Band followed on the heels of Vaughan Williams’ great masterworks for band, English Folk Song Suite and Toccata Marziale, and is significant, in part, because it is a relatively easy work (grade 3), by a composer of high stature and skill.

– Program note by Steve Schwartz and the Creekside Middle School Wind Symphony concert program, 20 December 2013


Samuel Hazo (b. 1966)

Arabesque was commissioned by the Indiana Bandmasters Association and written for the 2008 Indiana All-State Band. Arabesque is based in the mystical sounds of Middle Eastern music and it is composed in three parts. “Taqasim” (tah’-zeem), “dabka” (dupp-keh) and “chorale.” The opening flute cadenza, although written out in notes, is meant to sound like an Arabic taqasim or improvisation. Much the same as in jazz improvisation, the soloist is to play freely in the scales and modes of the genre. In this case, the flute plays in bi-tonal harmonic minor scales, and even bends one note to capture the micro-tonality (quarter-tones) of the music from this part of the world. However, opposite to jazz, taqasim has very little change to the chordal or bass line accompaniment. It is almost always at the entrance to a piece of music and is meant to set the musical and emotional tone.

The second section, a dabka, is a traditional Arabic line dance performed at celebrations, most often at weddings. Its drum beat, played by a dumbek or durbake hand drum, is unmistakable. Even though rhythmically simple, it is infectious in its ability to capture the toe-tapping attention of the listener. The final section, the chorale, is a recapitulation of previous mystical themes in the composition, interwoven with a grandeur of a sparkling ending.

Both sets of my grandparents immigrated to the United States; my mother’s parents were Lebanese, my father’s mother was Lebanese and his father was Assyrian. Sometimes in composition, the song comes from the heart, sometimes from the mind, and sometimes (as in this case) it’s in your blood. The Indiana Bandmasters Association asked for a piece that was unique. I had not heard any full-out Arabic pieces for wind orchestra, and I knew of this culture’s deep and rich musical properties … so I figured that one might as well come from me (Plus, my mom asked if I was ever going to write one). I hope you enjoy Arabesque.

– Program note by the composer

Earth Song

Frank Ticheli (b. 1958)

With sweeping melodic lines and intense dynamic contrast, Frank Ticheli captures the gamut of emotion with this beautiful transcription for band. Originally composed for unaccompanied voices with his own text as inspiration and sampled works such as Sanctuary, Earth Song unites the power of words and images with melody, harmony, and dynamics to blend this work into a tonal analogue of emotive life. The following is an excerpt from Ticheli’s original text:

But music and singing have been my refuge,
And music and singing shall be my light
A light of song, shining strong.
Through darkness and pain and strife, I sing, I’ll be… Live… See.

Earth Song was commissioned by and dedicated to the Faubion Middle School Band for its performance at the 2012 Midwest Clinic.

– Program note by the publisher

Mother Earth (A Fanfare)

David Maslanka (1943-2017)

Mother Earth (A Fanfare) was commissioned by and is dedicated to Brian Silvey and the South Dearborn High School Band of Aurora, Indiana. It is based on the short poem by the influential medieval friar St. Francis of Assisi:

Praised by You, my Lord, for our sister, MOTHER EARTH,
Who nourishes us and teaches us,
Bringing forth all kinds of fruits and colored flowers and herbs.

The commission was for a three-minute fanfare piece. Each piece takes on a reason for being all its own, and Mother Earth is no exception. It became an urgent message from Our Mother to treat her more kindly! My reading at the time of writing this music was For a Future to be Possible by the Vietnamese monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. He believes that the only way forward is to be extremely alive and aware in our present moment, to become awake to the needs of our beloved planet, and to respond to it as a living entity. Music making allows us to come immediately awake. It is an instant connection to the powerful wellspring of our creativity, and opens our minds to the solution of any number of problems, including that of our damaged environment. My little piece does not solve the problem! But it is a living call to the wide-awake life, and it continues to be performed by young people around the world.

– Program note by the composer

Sinfonia Voci

David Holsinger (b. 1945)

In the mid-afternoon of August 28, 1990, a massive tornado swept through the center of Plainfield, Illinois, a community some 30 miles southwest of Chicago. This massive storm scythed a five-mile-long path, causing millions of dollars in damages and the deaths of 29 residents of the city. Plainfield High School was totally destroyed.

In the fall of 1992, the Plainfield High School Band Boosters commissioned Holsinger to write a commemorative work for the high school symphonic band and civic chorus made up of many of the church choirs of the community. In the spring of 1993, after many years of relocation in Joliet, Plainfield High School returned to its community, and in a dedication service, The Plainfield Band and Civic Chorus under the direction of Scott Casagrande premiered the Sinfonia Voci.

– Program note by the publisher

Them Basses

Getty Huffine (1889-1947)

Them Basses March is subtitled “A March in which the Basses have the Melody throughout.” Huffine might have included the names of all of the lower brasses and the lower woodwinds in the subtitle, inasmuch as they also have the melody — after the introduction by the cornets. The march was written to sound complete with a minimum number of players, such as in a circus band playing for the elephant act. Because of the small number of different parts, Them Basses March is equally suitable for a 2,000-member massed band, a 28-piece brass band, and a marimba ensemble. It shares this characteristic with much of the music of the Baroque period. Rhythmically, it swings. It was on the J.W. Pepper list of favorite march for many years, almost since it was published in 1924, and it is still popular in many countries — a very uncomplicated march classic.

– Program note from Program Notes for Band

Intermission (15 minutes)

The Naperville Winds


Samuel Hazo (b. 1966)

Ride was written as a gesture of appreciation for all of the kind things Jack Stamp has done for me, ranging from his unwavering friendship to his heartfelt advice on composition and subjects beyond. During the years 2001 and 2002, some wonderful things began to happen with my compositions that were unparalleled to any professional good fortune I had previously experienced. The common thread in all of these things was Jack Stamp. I began to receive calls from all over the country, inquiring about my music, and when I traced back the steps of how someone so far away could know of my (then) unpublished works, all paths led to either reading sessions Jack had conducted, or recommendations he had made to band directors about new pieces for wind band. The noblest thing about him was that he never let me reciprocate in any way, not even allowing me to buy him dessert after a concert. All he would ever say is, “Just keep sending us the music,” which I could only take as the privilege it was, as well as an opportunity to give something back that was truly unique.

In late April of 2002, Jack had invited me to take part in a composer’s forum he had organized for his students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I was to present alongside Joseph Wilcox JenkinsMark CamphouseBruce Yurko and Aldo Forte. This forum was affectionately referred to in my house as “four famous guys and you.” It was such a creatively charged event, that everyone who took part was still talking about it months after it happened. Following the first day of the forum, Jack invited all of the composers to his house, where his wife Lori had prepared an incredible gourmet dinner. Since I didn’t know how to get to Jack’s house (aka Gavorkna House) from the university, he told me to follow him. So he and his passenger, Mark Camphouse, began the fifteen-minute drive with me behind them. The combination of such an invigorating day as well as my trying to follow Jack at the top speed a country road can be driven, is what wrote this piece in my head in the time it took to get from the IUP campus to the Stamp residence. Ride was written and titled for that exact moment in my life when Jack Stamp’s generosity and lead foot were equal in their inspiration as the beautiful Indiana, Pennsylvania countryside blurring past my car window.

– Program note by the composer

Symphony No. 4

David Maslanka (1943-2017)

The sources that give rise to a piece of music are many and deep. It is possible to describe the technical aspects of a work — its construction principles, its orchestration — but nearly impossible to write of its soul-nature except through hints and suggestions.

The roots of Symphony No. 4 are many. The central driving force is the spontaneous rise of the impulse to shout for the joy of life. I feel it is the powerful voice of the Earth that comes to me from my adopted western Montana, and the high plains and mountains of central Idaho. My personal experience of the voice is one of being helpless and torn open by the power of the thing that wants to be expressed — the welling-up shout that cannot be denied. I am set aquiver and am forced to shout and sing. The response in the voice of the Earth is the answering shout of thanksgiving, and the shout of praise.

Out of this, the hymn tune Old Hundred, several other hymn tunes (the Bach chorales Only Trust in God to Guide You and Christ Who Makes Us Holy), and original melodies which are hymn-like in nature, form the backbone of Symphony No. 4.

To explain the presence of these hymns, at least in part, and to hint at the life of the Symphony, I must say something about my long-time fascination with Abraham Lincoln. Carl Sandburg’s monumental Abraham Lincoln offers a picture of Lincoln in death. Lincoln’s close friend, David Locke, saw him in his coffin. According to Locke, his face had an expression of absolute content, of relief at having thrown off an unimaginable burden. The same expression had crossed Lincoln’s face only a few times in life; when after a great calamity, he had come to a great victory. Sandburg goes on to describe a scene from Lincoln’s journey to final rest at Springfield, Illinois. On April 28, 1865, the coffin lay on a mound of green moss and white flowers in the rotunda of the capitol building in Columbus, Ohio. Thousands of people passed by each hour to view the body. At four in the afternoon, in the red-gold of a prairie sunset, accompanied by the boom of minute guns and a brass band playing Old Hundred, the coffin was removed to the waiting funeral train.

For me, Lincoln’s life and death are as critical today as they were more than a century ago. He remains a model for his age. Lincoln maintained in his person the tremendous struggle of opposites raging in the country in his time. He was inwardly open to the boiling chaos, out of which he forged the framework of a new unifying idea. It wore him down and killed him, as it wore and killed the hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the Civil War, as it has continued to wear and kill by the millions up to the present day. Confirmed in the world by Lincoln, for the unshakable idea of the unity of all the human race, and by extension the unity of all life, and by further extension, the unity of all life with all matter, with all energy and with the silent and seemingly empty and unfathomable mystery of our origins.

Out of chaos and the fierce joining of opposite comes new life and hope. From this impulse I used Old Hundred, known as the Doxology — a hymn to God; Praise God from Whom all Blessings FlowGloria in excelsis Deo — the mid-sixteenth century setting of Psalm 100.

I have used Christian symbols because they are my cultural heritage, but I have tried to move through them to a depth of universal humanness, to an awareness that is not defined by religious label. My impulse through this music is to speak to the fundamental human issues of transformation and re-birth in this chaotic time.

– Program note by composer

One Life Beautiful

Julie Giroux (b. 1961)

One Life Beautiful was written in memory of Heather Cramer Reu for her “one life beautiful” that brought so much love and joy to our lives. The piece was commissioned by Ray and Molly Cramer, husband Phillip Reu and children, and brother Jeremy, his wife, Michelle, and children.

The title itself is a double-entendre which in one sense is referring to the person this work is dedicated to as in “one life” that was beautifully lived. The other sense is a direct observation concluding that having only one life is what makes life so sacred, tragic and so very precious. This is an impressionistic work musically describing that condition. Shakespeare’s “sweet sorrow,” the frailty and strength of life, the meaning of what it is to truly live One Life Beautiful.

– Program note by the composer

Come Sunday

Omar Thomas (b. 1984)

I played trombone in wind ensembles from the 4th grade through college. This experience has contributed significantly to the life I lead now. I had the pleasure of being exposed to sounds, colors, moods, rhythms, and melodies from all over the world. Curiously absent, however, was music told authentically from the African-American experience. In particular, I couldn’t understand how it was that no composer ever thought to tell the story of a Black worship experience through the lens of a wind ensemble. I realize now that a big part of this was an issue of representation. One of the joys and honors of writing music for wind ensemble is that I get to write music that I wish had existed when I was playing in these groups — music that told the story of the Black experience via Black composers.

Come Sunday is a two-movement tribute to the Hammond organ’s central role in black worship services. The first movement, Testimony, follows the Hammond organ as it readies the congregation’s hearts, minds, and spirits to receive The Word via a magical union of Bach, blues, jazz, and R&B. The second movement, Shout!, is a virtuosic celebration — the frenzied and joyous climactic moment(s) when The Spirit has taken over the service. The title is a direct nod to Duke Ellington, who held an inspired love for classical music and allowed it to influence his own work in a multitude of ways. To all the Black musicians in wind ensemble who were given opportunity after opportunity to celebrate everyone else’s music but our own — I see you and I am you. This one’s for the culture!

– Program Note by composer


Click to view members of The Naperville Winds

Thanks To Our Sponsors

Corporate Sponsor

The Naperville Winds’ Corporate Sponsor

Ellman’s Music Center

Corporate Partner

Full Circle Creative & Media Services

Gold Sponsor

$500 to $1000

Michael & Caroline Kelley

Sean Kelley

Jeordano “Pete” Martinez

Larry & Lynette Van Oyen

Silver Sponsor

$250 to $499

George A. Quinlan, Jr.

Bruce & Gail Spitzer

Francesca Vanderwall, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones

Bronze Sponsor

$100 to $249

Gary Jewel

Janice Mulqueeny

Friends of The Naperville Winds

$1 to $99

Elisabeth Baima

Victoria Burrows

Angela Chase

Harrison J. Collins

Daniel DiCesare

Christopher Kelley

John Kinsella

Joseph Kott

Gail Sonkin

Special Thanks To:

North Central College Camps & Conferences Office:
Kenneth Hannah
Jennifer Berozek
Andrew Butler
Collin Trevor

Pete Ellman, Ellman’s Music Center
Liana Finch, TNW Librarian
Jonathon Kirk, Chairperson, NCC Department of Music
Lawrence Van Oyen, NCC Director of Bands
George Blanchet, NCC Instructor of Percussion
Kim Richter, NCC Instructor of Bassoon & Music Director, Naperville Youth Symphony Orchestra
Stephen M. Caliendo, NCC Dean, College of Arts & Sciences

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