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RV Symphonic Band concert will showcase student performer, composer, conductor

Christine Lundahl conducts a rehearsal of the Rogue Valley Symphonic Band in preparation for its spring concert on May 21. RVSB photo

The theme of Rogue Valley Symphonic Band’s spring concert is apropos to the season and full of optimism.

“Through the Sun and Rain, You Will Bloom All the Same” will feature the music of Leonard Bernstein, Percy Grainger, Richard Strauss and Lili Boulanger, among others, and will be performed at

3 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at the SOU Music Recital Hall, 450 S. Mountain Ave., Ashland.

The concert will showcase the first-place winner of the 2022 Young Artist Competition and honor the two runners-up. Also featured on the program are a student conductor and a student composer. While not competition winners, they have been selected to participate as part of the celebration of young artists.

The Young Artist Competition was started in 2019 by RVSB to reward and recognize young artists’ talent and hard work. After a pandemic interruption, the program was renewed this year. Winners receive scholarships from the RVSB board.

First-place winner Elinor McGary is a student at North Medford High School. She won a $1,000 scholarship and will perform Horn Concerto No. 1 by Strauss with the band.

Second- and third-place winners are Clara Dyson and James Dyson, both students at Ashland High School, garnering scholarships of $500 and $300, respectively. They will not perform, but their bios will be featured in the program.

A panel of judges based their decisions on audition videos submitted by the competitors.

Asher Howell’s piece, “Honor and Glory,” will be performed and recorded by RVSB. The young composer is a student at South Medford High School.

Travis Muñoz will take the podium to conduct Bernstein’s “Overture to Candide.” He is a music major at SOU.

The following numbers will be performed:

n Leonard Bernstein’s “Overture to Candide,” from an operetta based on the 1759 novella of the same name by Voltaire.

n Percy Grainger’s “Children’s March,” a jaunty piece with whimsical rhythms and unique tonal colors.

n Richard Strauss’s “Horn Concerto No. 1,” one of only two composed by Strauss, who was a horn virtuoso himself.

n Lili Boulanger’s “D’un Matin De Printemps” (Of a Spring Morning), a work of vibrant energy in the mode of the French “Impressionist” composers.

n Asher Howell’s “Honor and Glory,” a “New Age” piece composed and arranged for concert band by the South Medford High School student.

n Morten Lauridsen’s “Contre Qui, Rose,” originally penned as the second movement of a choral cycle.

n Alfred Reed’s “The Hounds of Spring,” based on a Victorian poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne. Elements of the high spirits and innocence of tender love are reflected in the music.

The program will be about an hour long with one intermission. Tickets, $15 for adults and $5 for children and students, can be purchased at Paddington Station, 125 E. Main St., in Ashland or online at roguevalleysymphonicband.org.

RVSB Conductor Christine Lundahl is director of bands at SOU and assistant professor of instrumental music. In her first year at the university, she is pleased with the band’s progress as COVID-19 declines.

“I’m very grateful for all that we’ve accomplished in this year,” she said, “despite the difficulties of the pandemic. There has been some incredible music made with this ensemble.”

She looks forward to building community awareness of RVSB and expanding its audience base.

“We are looking for donors to sponsor our band members and our season next year,” Lundahl said.

She invites those interested in supporting RVSB to contact her at 541-552-6546 or by email at lundahlc@sou.edu.

Reach Ashland writer Jim Flint at jimflint.ashland@yahoo.com.