SFA Wind Ensemble to present Rhapsody in Blue

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Wind Ensemble at Stephen F. Austin State University will perform its final concert of the 2022-23 school year in presenting the program “Rhapsody in Blue” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

Conducted by Dr. Tamey Anglley, director of bands at SFA, the Wind Ensemble welcomes Dr. Michael Murphy, director of choral activities at SFA, and Christina Colley, graduate conducting student from Henderson, as guest conductors for the concert. SFA piano faculty member Dr. Minhae Lee is guest soloist on the final piece on the program, George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”

With Colley conducting, the concert opens with “Old Wine In New Bottles” by the British composer Gordon Jacob. The four-movement piece was written for 13 instruments and is a modern arrangement of old English tunes.

The concert also features the SFA premiere of “Our Will to Love” by alumnus Keaton Garrett.  The SFA band program is part of the consortium to commission this new piece, of which the composer stated “deals with the tenacity and perseverance of queer and marginalized people to love ourselves and others at all in a society that tells us we aren’t welcome.”

The Wind Ensemble will also perform William Schuman’s “Chester,” which was composed in 1957 and is based on the original American Revolution hymn written in 1778 by William Billings.

Murphy will guest conduct “Blessed Are They” by Johannes Brahms. It is an arrangement from the composer’s great choral work “A German Requiem,” written in 1867.

The final piece on the concert, “Rhapsody in Blue,” was written in 1924 for a new American music competition. Gershwin composed the piano solo, and Ferde Grofé composed the accompaniment.

“‘Rhapsody in Blue’ has gone through many editions since 1924 including an expanded theater orchestra version in 1926 and separate versions for full symphony orchestra and concert band in 1938, which were all arranged by Grofé,” Anglley said. “The SFA Wind Ensemble will perform the 1998 Donald Hunsberger arrangement which is based on the 1924 and 1926 Grofé orchestrations.”

Concert tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. To purchase tickets, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit finearts.sfasu.edu. For additional information, contact the SFA School of Music at (936) 468-4602.