SOMERS — The Racine Concert Band begins its 100th year of free concerts at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29 at the Bedford Concert Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, 900 Wood Road.
Music director Mark Eichner will lead a program that includes a world premiere of “Into Our Father’s Arms” by James Crowley, professor at UW-Parkside and chair of the university’s music department.
The music incorporates the poetry of four Kenosha/Racine Poet Laureates: Joe Engel, Darin Zimpel, Jessie Lynn McMains and Jean Preston.
Engel, author of “Bring Me Your Orchids,” is a UW-LaCrosse graduate and published poet.
Zimpel, author of “Dark Side of the Freak Show” and “Saturday Morning in Richland County”, is a native Racine and published poet.
McMains is a multi-genre writer, spoken word artist, and small-press editor.
“The Night You Died” is the work of Jean Preston, former director of Carthage College Brainard Writing Center.
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‘Into Our Father’s Arms’, Crowley’s seventh group work, is perhaps the most unusual of all his compositions.
“As I studied the many beautiful poems submitted, I was faced with the difficult task of juxtaposing a few of the selected poems into a cohesive and compelling whole,” Crowley said. “A speaker recites the poems in sync with the whole, outlining a dramatic structural arc that spans widely varying moods, visions, and emotional states.
“The work is an album of musical portraits: a soundtrack to accompany thoughts, memories and perspectives that we can all identify with.”
Carthage College pianist and soprano Melissa Cardamone will narrate the piece, reading the poems as the band plays.
The concert also includes “Four Abstractions” by American Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Ward and “Divertimento” by Vincent Persichetti. ‘Punchinello’, an overture by Alfred Reed, as well as a march from the Suite Karélie by Jean Sibelius and dance music from the ballet Spartacus by Khachaturian will complete the program.
Tickets are free and can be reserved at https://uwparksidetickets.universitytickets.com or by calling the UW-Parkside box office at 262-595-2564.
As Harmonie Racine celebrates its centenary, several special events are planned for the orchestra’s summer season of free outdoor concerts. These performances begin in July and are held at the Kiwanis Amphitheater on the east side of Racine Zoo Park.