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SMU's Meadows Wind Ensemble Presents a 1911 Centennial "Ice Cream Social" Concert

Event honors founding of SMU in 1911 with lively march and ragtime music of the era

The Meadows Wind Ensemble at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, under the direction of Jack Delaney, celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of SMU with a special 1911 Centennial Ice Cream Social Concert at 8 p.m. Friday, April 29 in Caruth Auditorium of the Owen Arts Center, 6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus. The lively program includes marches, rags and folk-influenced works by such composers as John Philip Sousa and James Reese Europe. Tickets are $13 adults, $10 seniors and $7 for SMU students, faculty and staff. Parking is available at Hillcrest and Binkley and in the garage beneath the Meadows Museum. For more information, please call the Meadows Ticket Office at 214.768.2787.

The concert will highlight music that was new and exciting in 1911, and defies audiences to sit still even today. The program opens with Percy Grainger’s spirited Handel in the Strand; its original title was Clog Dance, but a friend of Grainger’s suggested the new title since the music evoked both Handel and the English musical comedy centered in London’s Strand.

Guest trumpeter Tom Booth of the Dallas Symphony will then perform Southern Cross by Herbert L. Clarke, the famed cornet player of the John Philip Sousa Band.

The first half concludes with Gustav Holst’s Second Suite in F, originally composed for military band. The work incorporates seven English folk songs in its four movements and became hugely popular after its London debut in 1922, 11 years after it was written.

At intermission, the audience will be treated to free ice cream sundaes in the lobby. Patrons can bring their treats back to their seats for the second half of the program, which kicks off with Easter Monday on the White House Lawn by the band leader and composer who personified turn-of-the-century America, John Philip Sousa. Sousa wrote the sprightly ragtime piece for his 1911 suite Tales of a Traveler.

Guest conductor Bill Sleeper will then lead the Meadows Wind Ensemble in Scattering of the Roses, a Parisian dance tune by Ring & Hager.

Featured next will be Castle House Rag by James Reese Europe, who was the leading figure of the African-American music scene in New York in the 1910s. Europe’s “Society Orchestra” became nationally famous in 1912, accompanying famed dancers and theater headliners Vernon and Irene Castle. Europe composed Castle House Rag as a tribute to the Castle House for the Teaching of Correct Dancing, where the most staid versions of black dance were introduced to white society. The work combines elements of the African-American-inspired dance known as the turkey trot with the one-step, the most ubiquitous dance of the ragtime period.

Rounding out the concert is a popular circus march by Henry Fillmore, titled Rolling Thunder. With a tempo marking of “furious,” it has become one of the most well-known and loved circus band standards.

The Meadows Wind Ensemble has performed throughout the United States and Europe, and has won the acclaim of leading composers for performances that are consistently thoughtful and dynamic, both in concert and on recording. Composed of the finest winds, brass and percussion from the Meadows School of the Arts, and throughout SMU, the Wind Ensemble performs a broad and diverse range of literature, and regularly augments its instrumentation to include strings in order to access the repertory of the modern chamber orchestra. Frequent collaborations with the Meadows Dance Company have further broadened the artistic range of the Ensemble. The Meadows Wind Ensemble has recorded four compact discs on the Gasparo label, including Shadow Wood: Six Poems of Tennessee Williams, featuring the music of Warren Benson, The Drums of Summer: Live from Austria, which was awarded first prize at the Internationale Musiktag Vocklabruk in Austria, 3 Cents, featuring Kurt Weill’s Little Threepenny Music, and Snow Tracks, featuring the music of Samuel Adler and Stephen Jones. The most recent recording, Magneticfireflies, featuring the music of Augusta Read Thomas, is available on Ms. Thomas’s personal label.

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