The Racine Concert Band gives a free concert on November 1

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RACINE – The Racine Concert Band’s Nov. 1 program includes a homecoming for guest artist Bill Nelson.

The Park High School graduate returns to his school, 1901 12th St., as a soloist in the “Tenor Saxophone Concerto” by American Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Ward.

Nelson, who is also a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, will also be featured as a clarinet soloist on Henry Mancini’s fast “Pie in the Face Polka.”

The free concert — Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Park High School — continues the band’s historic 100th season and also highlights the band’s “Rooted in Racine” series.

“Our new tradition features guest artists who have developed their musical skills in our region,” said Mark Eichner, the band’s bandleader.

The program also includes the Racine Concert Band‘s third world premiere of the year: a version for orchestra — arranged by Eichner — of “Melodia” from Daron Hagen’s “Concerto for Brass Quintet”.

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Hailing from Brookfield, Hagen “allowed me to do the band’s version and lead the first one,” Eichner said.

“Although I have done many arrangements for the band,” he added, “I have never arranged the music of a living composer.”

Hagen studied for two years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before moving to New York in 1984, where he graduated from the Juilliard School.

After living abroad, he returned to the United States and studied with Leonard Bernstein. Hagen dedicated his 1993 opera, “Shining Brow”, to Bernstein’s memory.

He has worked as composer-in-residence and visiting professor at numerous universities and is a faculty member at the Chicago College of Performing Arts Conservatory of Music.

In 2020-2021, Hagen made his filmmaking debut, releasing his first “filmopera”, titled “Orson Rehearsed”, in which he explored the dying thoughts of Kenosha native Orson Welles through words, pictures and music. His second “filmopera” was shot on location in a Chicago restaurant and is currently in post-production.

Varied program

On the program of the Root Harmony:

  • “The Gods Go A-Begging” by George Frideric Handel, a 20th century ballet that uses music from Handel’s operas, arranged by Thomas Beecham in an orchestral version by WJ Duthoit.
  • “Pas redouble” by Camille Saint-Saëns, a fast double march.
  • “Huntingtower Ballad” by Ottorino Respighi, the Italian master’s only work for orchestra.

The Park High School Band, led by Mark Jensen, performs:

  • “Burnished Brass” by John Cacavas.
  • “Komm, Süsser Tod” by JS Bach, arranged by Alfred Reed.
  • “Stone Creek Episode” by Ed Huckeby.
  • “Pie in the Face Polka” by Henry Mancini, arranged by Johnnie Vinson and featuring guest artist Bill Nelson as solo clarinet.

The two bands will reunite for the finale, a medley of music from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” by Danny Elfman.

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