Scot Symphonic Band to Perform Home Concert

College of Wooster ensemble to present concert in McGaw Chapel

28 February, 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, March 5, at 2:30 p.m. (340 E. University St.).

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 tour features music of various styles and genres representative of substantive wind band literature. The concert opens with John Zdechlik’s “Celebrations,” a spirited work consisting of two contrasting themes marked by changing colors and textures between woodwind and brass choirs.

Also on the program are contrasting works of Pittsburgh composer Samuel Hazo. “Sky is Waiting” represents a musical timeline of humankind’s quest for flight, while “Exultate” is an exciting piece written originally for the inauguration of Charles Dougherty as President of Duquesne University in 2001 and is dedicated by the Scot Band to Wooster’s newest President, Sarah Bolton, installed as the 12th president in October, 2016. “Bach’s Fugue à la Gigue” was originally composed for pipe organ and transcribed by Gustav Holst for military band in 1927.

Mark Camphouse’s “A Movement for Rosa” pays tribute to Rosa Parks for her peaceful act of personal courage, which sparked the civil rights movement of the 1950’s. Written in three distinct sections, the first evokes Rosa’s peaceful early years, while the agitated middle segment portrays years of racial strife and the quest for social equality. The final section features the hymn, “We Shall Overcome” and ends with unresolved harmonies representing racism’s lingering presence in American society.

Other works include Percy Grainger’s lively and infectious “The Immovable Do,” two movements from Robert Russell Bennett’s “Suite of Old American Dances,” and Arthur Pryor’s distinctly American “Blue Bells of Scotland,” featuring junior trombone soloist Thomas Matlak.

No Scot Band concert would be complete without the music of Scotland, featuring the bagpipers and Highland dancers, including the traditional concluding collaborative rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

Nancy Ditmer has enjoyed a prodigious 33-year career as a music educator and conductor at Wooster, and as a leading advocate for music education and performance at the elementary, middle, and high school levels across the country. Ditmer returned to full-time teaching after completing a two-year term as president of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) from 2012-2014. She received her Master of Arts degree from The University of Iowa where she also completed coursework for the Ph.D., and her Bachelor of Music Education degree at Capital University where in April she received the 2016 Alumni Achievement Award in recognition of her notable accomplishments in the profession of music education as well as her service to Capital University.

Ned Brooks is in his 21st year as an associate director for the band program at Wooster, where he assists with the Marching and Symphonic Bands. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in music education from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree from Kent State University. He also serves as music director of St. James Episcopal Church in Wooster, where he coordinates a noontime Brown Bag concert series, which is now in its 39th year.

There is no admission fee for the performance, but a freewill offering will be taken. Additional information about the concert is available by phone (330-263-2052) or by email.

The College of Wooster is America’s premier college for mentored undergraduate research. Every Wooster senior works one-on-one with a faculty adviser to create an original research project, written work, performance, or art exhibit. In the process, each develops independent judgment, analytical ability, creativity, project-management and time-management skills, and strong written and oral communication skills. Founded in 1866, the college enrolls approximately 2,000 students.