Symphonic Band: ‘Variations on Red, White, and Blue’

Le05.06.15_Symphonic-Bandd by Richard Frey, the Symphonic Band celebrates the American Wind Band in a special performance entitled “Variations on Red, White, and Blue.” The concert consists of variations of some favorite compositions, exploring American music from different locations, eras, and regions. It will take place on Wednesday, May 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the Griffin Concert Hall at the University Center for the Arts, located at 1400 Remington St.

The program features works from Charles Ives, Donald Grantham, and Frank Ticheli, and will share the many different styles and sounds that have been composed for the American Wind Band in the past century.

“Each piece shines a light on a different American scene,” said Frey. “Each a variation on musical America.”

Include on the concert is “Southern Harmony,” a piece drawing from a composition of Donald Grantham’s. It is based on a hymn and tune book by the same name that, while currently used by the Southern Baptist Church, are actually a collection of colonial America-based songs stemming from Philadelphia, where the books were originally printed.

“Blue Shades” is a riff on various jazz types, within a concert band setting, and celebrates the nostalgic American feeling of fanfare and celebration composition.

“Celebration is old-school Americana,” said Frey. “The composer was the orchestrator for many iconic American films, and this piece is filled with charm and whimsy.”

Finally, a piece themed “San Antonio Dances” celebrates the town where composer Frank Ticheli spent some of his formative years.

“The music is charming and paints a beautiful picture of the Alamo gardens and a stroll down the river walk,” Frey noted.

About the Symphonic Band

The largest of the concert ensembles at CSU is the Symphonic Band. This group numbers 75-90 players with numerous college majors being represented. The Symphonic Band performs various concerts on campus each year with a wide variety of literature including marches, show tunes, contemporary works, transcriptions, and manuscript literature. The band utilizes performers within the music faculty, performers within the ensemble, and guest conductors as a part of the programming.

About Richard Frey

Richard Frey is the Associate Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Music at CSU, where he conducts the Symphonic Band, directs the Marching Band, and teaches courses in music education. Under his direction, the CSU Marching Band has expanded its national and international reputation, including a 2013 tour of Ireland that culminated in a performance at the St. Patrick’s Festival Parade in Dublin.


Tickets are $7 for CSU students, $1 for youth (under 18), and $12 for the public. Tickets are available at the University Center for the Arts (UCA) ticket office in the UCA lobby Monday through Friday, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. and 60 minutes prior to performances, by phone at 970-491-ARTS (2787), or online. Youth tickets must be purchased in person at the Ticket Office. All tickets are subject to a $1 ticket fee for both online and at-the-door purchases. Advance ticket purchase is highly recommended to avoid lines and further at-the-door fees.

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This article was written by Mikhail Talley.