More than 500 musicians to participate in Coe Festival of Bands

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or

2012-04-13 07:18:05 - General

The Festival of Bands concerts at Coe College will feature more than 500 musicians of all ages from across Eastern Iowa, April 19, 21 and 22. With four performances featuring nine bands, the Coe College Festival of Bands has grown to become one of the largest non-competitive events of its kind in Iowa.

Featured ensembles performing during the event include the Kirkwood Community College Concert Band, the Coe College Jazz Ensemble, the Coe College Concert Band, the New Horizons Band, the Coe College Low Brass Ensemble, and honor bands featuring elementary, middle school and high school students. The concerts are sponsored by Coe College, the C.L. Barnhouse Company and Friends of Music at Coe.

This year’s Festival of Bands features the premiere of a new piece by guest composer/conductor Larry Neeck at the Elementary School Honor Band Concert.  In addition, Neeck will be conducting his own compositions with all four honor bands during the weekend, as well as the Coe College Concert Band.

Guest composer/conductor Larry Neeck
The 2012 guest composer/conductor is Larry Neeck, an internationally recognized composer with numerous works for concert band and jazz ensemble published by C.L. Barnhouse Company. Neeck has received numerous ASCAP awards for his compositions, and his music has been heard on PBS television, as well as on his albums “Swing Machine” and “Midnight Escape.”

Often working as a guest conductor, Neeck holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Master of Music Education from the Eastman School of Music. He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), Music Educators National Conference (MENC), New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA), and the New York State Band Directors Association (NYSBDA).

In addition to composing, Neeck teaches instrumental music in the Webster, N.Y., Central School District. He directs concert bands, jazz ensembles, and is co-founder and director of the Willink Middle School Student/Parent Band.

The specific events are as follows:

Thursday, April 19 – Kirkwood Community College Concert Band directed by Beth Zamzow, the New Horizons Band directed by Alan Lawrence, and the Coe College Low Brass Ensemble conducted by Todd Schendel, starting at 8 p.m. in Sinclair Auditorium.   The concert is free and open to the public.

Saturday, April 21 – Elementary School Honor Band Concert featuring guest composer/conductor Larry Neeck and conductor David Law, at 4 p.m. in Sinclair Auditorium. Tickets are available at the door for $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors.

This concert marks the 10th time elementary honor band students have been selected to perform at Coe College, making it a unique event in the state. Students in grades four through six will be playing in two separate bands, which are designated as the Coe College Crimson Elementary Honor Band and the Coe College Gold Elementary Honor Band.

Saturday, April 21 – Festival of Bands Grand Finale Concert featuring the Coe College Concert Band directed by William Carson, with special guest composer/conductor Larry Neeck, at 8 p.m. in Sinclair Auditorium. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors, and are available at the door.

This special concert will feature four Coe student soloists, including junior flutist Sarah Gierach, post-graduate bassoonist Cindy Mickens, senior drum-set player James Flansburg-Sivell, and senior saxophonist Justin Comer.  The concert will include the music of John Williams, Hindemith, and Holst, as well as one of the pieces that won Cedar Rapids native Michael Daugherty a recent Grammy with the Nashville Symphony for Best Classical CD.

Sunday, April 22 – Coe College Junior Honor Band conducted by Steve Shanley, and Coe College Senior Honor Band directed by William Carson, with special guest composer/conductor Larry Neeck, at 4 p.m. in Sinclair Auditorium. In addition, the Coe College Jazz Ensemble will perform, under the direction of Steve Shanley. Tickets are available at the door and are $6 for adults, $4 for students and seniors.

The Coe College Jazz Band will feature several works by Neeck, as well as a new arrangement of “Sussudio” by Coe alumnus Duroje Gwamna, who graduated in 2011.

For more information on Festival of Bands events, contact the Coe Music Department at 319-399-8521.