Racine Concert Band performing free concert Nov 1

RACINE — The Racine Concert Band’s Nov. 1 program features a homecoming for guest artist Bill Nelson.

The Park High School graduate returns to his school, 1901 12th St., as the soloist for “Tenor Saxophone Concerto” by American Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Ward.

Nelson, who also graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, will also be featured as the clarinet soloist on the fast-moving “Pie in the Face Polka” by Henry Mancini

The free concert — 7 pm Tuesday at Park High School — continues the band’s landmark 100th season and also highlights the group’s “Rooted in Racine” series.

“Our newest tradition features guest artists who developed their musical skills in our area,” said Mark Eichner, the band’s conductor.

The program also features the Racine Concert Band’s third world premiere of the year: A band version — arranged by Eichner — of “Melodia” from Daron Hagen’s “Concerto for Brass Quintet.”

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A native of Brookfield, Hagen “authorized me to make the band version and conduct the premiere,” Eichner said.

“Although I’ve made many arrangements for the band,” he added, “I’ve never before arranged music by a living composer.”

Hagen studied for two years at the University of Wisconsin–Madison before moving to New York City in 1984, where he graduated from the Juilliard School.

After living abroad, he returned to the US and studied with Leonard Bernstein. Hagen dedicated his 1993 opera, “Shining Brow,” to Bernstein’s memory.

He has worked as a composer in residence and visiting professor at many universities and is a faculty member at the Music Conservatory of the Chicago College of Performing Arts.

In 2020–21, Hagen debuted as a filmmaker, releasing his first “filmopera,” entitled “Orson Rehearsed,” in which he explored Kenosha native Orson Welles’ dying thoughts through words, images and music. His second “filmopera” was shot on location in a Chicago restaurant and is currently in post production.

Different program

The Racine Concert Band’s program features:

  • “George Frideric Handel’s The Gods Go A-Begging,” a 20th century ballet that uses music from Handel’s operas, arranged by Thomas Beecham in a band version by WJ Duthoit.
  • Camille Saint-Saens’ “Pas Redouble,” a double quick-step march.
  • Ottorino Respighi’s “Huntingtower Ballad,” the Italian master’s only work for band.

The Park High School Band, conducted by Mark Jensen, is performing:

  • “Burnished Brass” by John Cacavas.
  • “Come, Sweet Death” by JS Bach, arranged by Alfred Reed.
  • “Stone Creek Episode” by Ed Huckeby.
  • “Pie in the Face Polka” by Henry Mancini, arranged by Johnnie Vinson and featuring guest artist Bill Nelson as the clarinet soloist.

The two bands will combine for the finale, a medley of music from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” by Danny Elfman.

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