Riding the Range with HSU Symphonic Band

The HSU Symphonic Band rides the range with John Williams’ movie music for “The Cowboys,” plus music based on English and Korean folk melodies, and three works featuring some unusual percussion at 8 p.m. Friday, December 5 in Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus.

“The Cowboys” was a 1972 film starring John Wayne. Although written early in Williams film career and overshadowed by his better-known scores such as Star Wars, the American Film Institute considers it one of his ten best.


“It’s very exciting music,” said Symphonic Band conductor Paul Cummings. “It’s very tuneful, as is all of John Williams’ film music.”

The band also performs Gustav Holst’s Second Suite, which is based on prominent English folk songs, including “Greensleeves.” HSU singers will perform several of these songs. “The idea is to give the audience a sense of what inspired Holst in writing this suite,” Cummings said.

The band moves from English folk music to Asia with Variations on a Korean Folk Song by contemporary American composer John Barnes Chance. The composer uses unusual percussion instruments such as the temple block as well as different rhythms to explore the song “Arirang.” “This is really a masterwork,” Cummings said, and enjoyable to listen to, because it’s got that unifying element of the folk song.”

Two other pieces by contemporary American composers also prominently employ unusual percussion instruments to create a variety of musical effects: “Shadow Rituals” by Robert Markowski and “Night Dances” by Bruce Yurko.

In its faster section the Yurko piece also features brass instruments. “We have a terrific brass section this semester,” Cummings said, “so it’s fun for them to really show what they can do.”

Tickets are $8 general, $5 seniors and children, free to HSU students, from the HSU Box Office (826-3928) or at the door. For more information visit HSUMusic.blogspot.comhttp://HSUMusic.blogspot.com. Conducted by Paul Cummings, produced by HSU Music Department.