Coe College Festival of Bands celebrates 20 years

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

2013-04-04 15:19:59 - General

In celebration of 20 years of the Coe College Festival of Bands, this year's concerts will feature more than 500 musicians of all ages from across Eastern Iowa, April 19-21. To observe this milestone, the Festival will feature two guest composers/conductors, along with a featured soloist, and several local composers. With four performances featuring eight bands, the Coe 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 Coe College Concert Band, the Coe College Jazz Ensemble, the Kirkwood Community College Concert Band, the New Horizons Band, 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.

Fulfilling the traditional role of guest composer/conductor will be David Shaffer, who will be working with all student-level bands, from elementary through college. Shaffer, who has composed and arranged more than 350 pieces of music over the past 35 years, is currently the director of the Miami University Marching Band. Ted Vives, director of the award-winning Los Alamos Community Winds of New Mexico, will also be a featured guest composer/conductor on the Gala Concert Saturday night.

The specific events are as follows:

Friday, April, 19 – Kirkwood Community College Concert Band conducted by Beth Zamzow and the New Horizons Band directed by Alan Lawrence, at 7:30 p.m. in Sinclair Auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public.

Saturday, April 20 – Elementary School Honor Band Concert at 4 p.m. in Sinclair Auditorium, guest composer/conductor David Shaffer and conductor David Law. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors, and are available at the door.

This concert marks the 11th 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 20 – Festival of Bands Gala Concert featuring the Coe College Concert Band directed by William Carson, with guest composers/conductors David Shaffer and Ted Vives, at 8 p.m. in Sinclair Auditorium. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors, and are available at the door.

Of special note will be the performance of Vives' arrangement of the soundtrack to the Bugs Bunny cartoon, "What's Opera, Doc?" While the Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny voices are portrayed by the original actors, Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan, and the audience enjoys the cartoon on the big screen, the Coe Concert Band will perform the soundtrack, as arranged and conducted by Dr. Vives.

Also featured on this program will be graduating senior flute major Sarah Gierach, who will perform "Serenade" by Howard Hanson, accompanied by a wind ensemble from within the Concert Band.

Coe Music Professor Steve Shanley has composed a new fanfare for the concert, which will open the program. Part-time music education faculty member Josh Reznicow, who is the director of the orchestra program at Linn-Mar High School, will also have a piece featured on the program.

Two additional new compositions have been written for this concert by current members of the band. Laura Phillips, a member of the flute section, is a local music teacher and a band director from the Belle Plaine Community School District. She has composed a piece that will receive its premiere at the concert. Coe alumnus Duroje Gwamna, who plays in the trombone section, has composed a new work that will be performed by the band, entitled "Dreamer's Overture."

David Shaffer, who was previously the Festival of Bands guest composer/conductor in 2005, will also join the Coe Concert Band, conducting two of his most complex and difficult band compositions.

Sunday, April 21 – Coe College Junior Honor Band conducted by Steve Shanley, and Coe College Senior Honor Band directed by William Carson, with special guest composer/conductor David Shaffer, at 4 p.m. in Sinclair Auditorium. In addition, the Coe College Jazz Ensemble will perform, under the direction of Steve Shanley. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students and seniors, and are available at the door.

The Coe Jazz Ensemble will perform "Vine Street Rumble" by Benny Carter of the Count Basie Band and "Groovin' Hard" by Don Menza of the Buddy Rich Band. In addition, the group will feature "The Pink Panther" by Henry Mancini, arranged by Coe student Wes Anderson.

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