Scot Symphonic Band Concert

Scot Symphonic Band to Perform in McGaw Chapel on March 6

02 March, 2016 by Sarah Stanley

WOOSTER, Ohio — The sights and sounds of Scotland will descend upon Wooster when The College of Wooster’s Scot Symphonic Band performs in concert on Sunday, March 6, in McGaw Chapel (340 E. University St.). The concert, which is free and open to the public, begins at 2:30 p.m.

The concert will feature music to be performed during the upcoming Spring Tour, which will feature concerts in Marion, OH; Louisville, KY; Powder Springs, GA; Greenwood, SC; and Statesville, NC. Directed by Nancy Ditmer and assisted by Ned Brooks and Ben Herrick, 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 Mark Camphouse’s “Heartland Sketches,” commissioned to celebrate the retirement of Myron Welch from The University of Iowa where he served as teacher, mentor, and friend to many, including Wooster’s Director of Bands, Nancy Ditmer. Fragments of the Iowa Fight Song and Alma Mater Iowa (set in barbershop quartet style) are prominently included, as are brief reminders of Myron’s love of sailing and of his doctoral alma mater, The University of Illinois.

Also on the program are contrasting works of two British composers. Malcolm Arnold’s “Prelude, Siciliano and Rondo,” originally for British brass band, retains the breezy effervescence of the original in John Paynter’s arrangement for concert band. Derek Bourgeois’ “Serenade” was originally composed for the organist to play as the guests left his own wedding. Not wishing to allow them the luxury of proceeding in an orderly manner, he wrote the playful work in uneven 11/8  and 13/8 meters.

Morten Lauridsen’s choral setting of “O Magnum Mysterium” (O Great Mystery) is one of the world’s most performed and recorded compositions; this symphonic wind setting by H. Robert Reynolds was arranged with the approval and appreciation of the composer. Four interconnected dance-like movements comprise “Chiaroscuro (Symphonic Dances in Shades of Darkness and Light)” by Robert Sheldon.  Moods range from the dark, menacing opening through a dreamy forest scene, a Latin-influenced segment, and a joyous tarantella that increases in tempo to a dramatic ending.

Other works include Percy Grainger’s lively and infectious “Children’s March: Over the Hills and Far Away,” Samuel Hazo’s original slow folk tune “Southern Hymn,” and Burrill Phillips’ distinctly American “Concert Piece,” featuring Senior bassoon soloist Margaret Connors.

No Scot Band concert would be complete without the music of Scotland, featuring the bagpipers, Scottish drummers, and Highland dancers.

Nancy Ditmer has enjoyed a prodigious 32-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 recently returned to full-time teaching after completing a two-year term as president of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). 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 will receive 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 20th 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 38th year.

Ben Herrick is in his first year as director of the Scot Marching Band at Wooster where he also leads a New Orleans Jazz Band and assists with the Symphonic Band. Prior to that, he taught for nine years as a public school band director in grades 5-12 in two school districts in Northwest Ohio.  He earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Toledo and a Master of Music Education degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. 

Additional information is available by phone (330-263-2419) or by email.