American Band College at the Craterian Theatre

Trumpeter Doc Severinsen, a native Oregonian, willl solo Tuesday at the Craterian.Photo courtesy of Tony Scodwell

Internationally acclaimed trumpeters Doc Severinsen, Bobby Shew and Allen Vizzutti will be part of American Band College's 25th anniversary celebration.

The three guest soloists, along with several conductors and ABC's 200-piece Directors' Band, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 25, at the Craterian Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford.

If you go

Who: American Band College

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 25

Where: Craterian Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford

Tickets: $29 and $25 for children and seniors

Call: 541-779-3000

Formed in 1989 as a workshop, ABC grew into a master's degree program that was first hosted by Southern Oregon University and then, starting in 2010, by Sam Houston State University.

The concert is the culmination of ABC's three-week immersion course, offered at Ashland High School. Nearly 200 band directors from 43 states and seven foreign countries will participate in the course and form the college's aptly titled Directors' Band.

The band will be divided into two groups for the show, but everyone, including the guest soloists, will come together at the end for a performance of "Five by Five."

The highlight of the show will be Severinsen, 86, who will premiere his own composition, "Caravan Fantasy," based on the famous jazz tune "Caravan."

In the 1940s, Severinsen toured with Tommy Dorsey and later with Benny Goodman and, in 1962, was invited to join The Tonight Show Band. Five years later, he was promoted to music director of "The Tonight Show," a title he kept until 1992 when he — and Johnny Carson — retired from late-night television.

Soloists Shew and Vizzutti also boast impressive resumes. Shew played with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Della Reese and other greats, and Vizzutti has appeared as guest soloist with symphonies worldwide.

For the show, Shew will perform the ballad "A Father's Dream," and after intermission, Vizzutti will present a highly technical rendition of "Carnival of Venice."

"These guys have all played with the greats," says Max McKee, executive director of ABC. "Name any great jazz musician of the last 50 years, and these guys have played with them. They have all played 'The Tonight Show,' traveled to Europe and played with major symphonies there and in the United States."

Honorary conductors Arnald Gabriel, Paula Crider and Johan de Meij will take turns with the baton.

De Meij, who hails from the Netherlands, will direct two movements of his award-winning piece "Lord of the Rings," written in 1989, as well as the premiere of a new instrumental setting of several movements from the famed "Riverdance" by Irish composer Bill Whelan. Whelan, who will be in attendance, and de Meij collaborated on the piece, which McKee describes as "visual" and "international."

"This concert is a dream come true," McKee says. "It's a celebration of 25 years of work involving some of the world's greatest artists and conductors. We have four world premieres that night, and that's just unheard of."

General seating costs $29, $25 for seniors and children. Tickets can be purchased at the Craterian box office, 16 S. Bartlett St., online at www.craterian.org or by calling 541-779-3000.

The Directors' Band will present a second concert, featuring guest soloist Harry Watters of the U.S. Army Band and conductors Mike Bankhead, Kanat Akhmetov and Brian Balmages, at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 4, at the Ashland High School stadium. See www.bandworld.org for more information.


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