Scot Symphonic Band to Perform in McGaw Chapel

Free concert will feature music prepared since returning from three-state tour in March

25 April, 2017 by Sarah Stanley

WOOSTER, Ohio — The sights and sounds of Scotland will descend upon McGaw Chapel when The College of Wooster’s Scot Symphonic Band performs in concert on Sunday, April 30, at 2:30 p.m. (340 E. University St.).

The concert will feature music prepared since returning from a three-state concert tour in March and will pay tribute to the 12 graduating senior members of the band, all of whom have contributed substantively to the band program, both musically and personally. Directed by Nancy Ditmer and assisted by Ned Brooks, the band has entertained audiences nationwide during its annual spring tour since 1976. The ensemble’s distinctive uniforms, which consist of kilts with hand-sewn pleats made from the College’s MacLeod tartan plaid, represent Wooster’s Scottish Presbyterian heritage.

The concert features music of various styles and genres representative of substantive wind band literature and written by American composers. The concert opens with James Curnow’s “Where Never Lark or Eagle Flew,” a buoyant celebration based on a poem by John Gillespie, Jr., an American volunteer with the Royal Canadian Air Force in WWII. This spirited piece captures the poet’s love for flying and its release from the troubles of the world.

Also on the program is a contrasting work about flight by American composer, Samuel R. Hazo. According to the composer, “Sky is Waiting” depicts a musical timeline of our journey as humans to accept the invitation the sky has extended to us. It is an impressive creation with a wide range of tonal colors, stylistic variations, and emotional depth.

Two patriotic works of different styles will be conducted by Ned Brooks, including one of America’s most beloved marches, “National Emblem” and Carmen Dragon’s well-known setting of “America the Beautiful.” The march uses quotes from the Star-Spangled Banner, but in duple meter and is different from many marches in that it lacks the traditional stinger at the end.

The band’s final work on the program is “Fantasia in G” by Timothy Mahr and is an unpretentious, joyful celebration for winds and percussion. It is based on the opening lines of Johann von Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” and was first performed by the St. Olaf College Band, Mahr’s undergraduate alma mater, in January, 1983.

No Scot Band concert would be complete without the music of Scotland, featuring the bagpipers, Scottish drummers, and Highland dancers. Their performances will open and close the concert, with the bagpipes and band combining for a setting of the traditional “Amazing Grace” to close the concert.

The concert is free and open to the public. Additional information is available by phone (330-263-2419) or by email.