Firsts & Favorites
Thursday, September 7th | 7:30 pm | Wentz Concert Hall | Naperville, Illinois
From the Music Director
Welcome to the first performance of The Naperville Winds, and 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. Today’s concert 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
Composed in 2016
Kevin Day (b. 1996)
When I was writing Dancing Fire, I wanted to write a piece for my high school band program and its directors for the great pieces we played, the fun times we had, and the excitement our bands created at our concerts. The picture I had in my head before I began writing was a group of people surrounding a large bonfire during the night. These people began dancing around the fire, having fun, singing songs, and ultimately, celebrating life.
Once I had that picture in my head, along with the constant repeating motif that eventually became the melody for the entire piece, the rest of the work fit together nicely, and in two weeks it was done. The composition brings this mental picture I had to life in a fun and energetic way with dance-like percussion and a constant groove, as well as its contagious melody, a mysterious soprano sax solo, and a climactic ending.
This was written in dedication to the Arlington High School Band Program in Arlington, Texas, and to my former band directors, Michael Hejny, Nathan Burum, and Nathan Hervey.
– Program note by composer
Composed in 2020
Sean Kelley (b. 1979)
The COVID-19 pandemic touched our lives in different ways, but all of us were deeply moved by the selflessness of those who braved the pandemic on a daily basis to make sure those of us able to shelter at home received the food, healthcare, and life essentials we needed. Many of those people—wives, husbands, partners, fathers, mothers, daughters, sons–succumbed to the virus as a result of their service. These individuals’ sacrifices saved our nation from utter collapse. I hope that this piece in some meaningful way conveys my appreciation to the families and survivors of those we lost.
– Program note by composer
Composed in 2000
Eric Whitacre (b. 1970)
At the Midwest Band and Orchestra convention in 1996, Gary Green approached me about a possible commission for his wind ensemble at the University of Miami. I accepted, and the commission formally began July 1st, 1997. Two years later I still couldn’t show him a single note. That’s not to say I hadn’t written anything. On the contrary, I had about 100 pages of material for three different pieces, but I wanted to give Gary something very special and just couldn’t find that perfect spark.
Around this time my great friend and fellow Juilliard composer Steven Bryant was visiting me in Los Angeles, and as I had just bought a new computer I was throwing out old sequencer files, most of them sketches and improvisational ideas. As I played one section Steve dashed into the room and the following conversation ensued:
Steve: “What the hell was that!?!”
Me: “Just an old idea I’m about to trash.”
Steve: “Mark my words, If you don’t use that I’m stealing it.”
The gauntlet had been thrown.
That was the spark, but it took me a full eight months to write the piece. There are a LOT of notes, and I put every one on paper (with pencil). I wanted to write a moto perpetuo, a piece that starts running and never stops (equus is the Latin word for horse) and would also be a virtuosic show piece for winds. The final result is something that I call “dynamic minimalism,” which basically means that I love to employ repetitive patterns as long as they don’t get boring. We finally premiered the piece in March 2000, nearly three years after the original commission date, and the University of Miami Wind Ensemble played the bejeezus out of it.
Equus is dedicated to my friend Gary Green, the most passionate and patient conductor I know.
– Program note by the composer
Intermission (10 minutes)
To Right Our Wrongs
Composed in 2021
Harrison J. Collins (b. 1999)
To Right Our Wrongs was commissioned by the Kneel Consortium, led by Rachel Maxwell and Josh Johnson and the Traughber Junior High School Band.
To Right Our Wrongs aims to reflect on the complex, multi-faceted impact that privilege has on the American experience, and on the way that disparities of privilege play a role in both the fight for and prevention of social and systemic equality and equity. There is an extensive history of vast systemic violence and injustice towards women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and other minority groups in the United States. Those who are not a part of these communities and, thus, have not experienced these communities’ discrimination are privileged; if they know about the injustices of our country, it is most likely because they have learned from others. But members of these communities must both learn from others and live these injustices. Additionally, this societal privilege is not binary. It is intersectional, meaning that different people experience different amounts of privilege based on the communities they are a part of. A white, cisgender woman is privileged in the sense that she is both white and cisgender; however, she does not have the privilege that men have. A transgender, disabled man does have that privilege; but he, in turn, does not have the privilege held by those who are cisgender or able-bodied. This complex role that privilege plays in the systemic discrimination of our country led me to the guiding questions of this work: What does it mean to work against the wrongdoings of our country’s past and present? How can privilege be utilized for good? As those who hold privilege, what does it mean to right our wrongs?
A crucial part of the fight for true equality in our country is the utilization of privilege to make an impact on the system, which requires privileged people to be aware of and understand privilege and its meaning. As a privileged person myself in most primary ways privilege presents itself in America (I am white, male, cisgender, and able-bodied), there’s probably little that I can say to those who do not experience these privileges that they have not already learned through their own experiences. I feel that the best thing I can do is to speak to those who are privileged like me, but who lack awareness or understanding of what this means. This work serves as an honest, encouraging, and emotionally vulnerable message to the privileged, without accusation or condescension. With it comes this message: If you are privileged, it is not an insult. It is not an accusation. It does not mean that you are bad, or that your life accomplishments are not valid. It does not mean that you haven’t struggled or fought to get to where you are now. Having privilege simply means that you are part of a system that treats some people better than it treats others in many different ways, and you are one of the people who are treated better in one or more of those ways. This issue of privilege affects all of us, and we should all care. You can use the privilege you have, in any form, to support those who do not have it.
In addition to an original melody, To Right Our Wrongs respectfully utilizes The Star-Spangled Banner, the US national anthem, and Lift Every Voice and Sing, known to many as the African American national anthem, to reflect the varied and complicated nature of the American experience.
Composed in 1937
Percy Aldridge Grainger (1882-1961)
Lincolnshire Posy was commissioned by the American Bandmasters Association and premiered at their convention with the composer conducting. It is in six movements, all based on folk songs from Lincolnshire, England. Grainger’s settings are not only true to the verse structure of the folk songs, but attempt to depict the singers from whom Grainger collected the songs. Since its premiere, it has been recognized as a cornerstone of the wind band repertoire.
Lincolnshire Posy, as a whole work, was conceived and scored by me direct for wind band early in 1937. Five, out of the six, movements of which it is made up existed in no other finished form, though most of these movements (as is the case with almost all my compositions and settings, for whatever medium) were indebted, more or less, to unfinished sketches for a variety of mediums covering many years (in this case, the sketches date from 1905 to 1937). These indebtednesses are stated in the score.
This bunch of “musical wildflowers” (hence the title) is based on folksongs collected in Lincolnshire, England (one notated by Miss Lucy E. Broadwood; the other five noted by me, mainly in the years 1905-1906, and with the help of the phonograph), and the work is dedicated to the old folksingers who sang so sweetly to me. Indeed, each number is intended to be a kind of musical portrait of the singer who sang its underlying melody — a musical portrait of the singer’s personality no less than of his habits of song — his regular or irregular wonts of rhythm, his preference for gaunt or ornately arabesqued delivery, his contrasts of legato and staccato, his tendency towards breadth or delicacy of tone.
– Program note by the composer
Thanks To Our Sponsors
$500 to $1000
Michael & Caroline Kelley
Jeordano “Pete” Martinez
Larry & Lynette Van Oyen
$250 to $499
George A. Quinlan, Jr.
Bruce & Gail Spitzer
$100 to $249
Friends of The Naperville Winds
$1 to $99
Harrison J. Collins
Special Thanks To:
North Central College Camps & Conferences Office:
Pete Ellman, Ellman Music Center
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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