WOOSTER, Ohio — The sights and sounds of Scotland will descend upon McGaw Chapel when The College of Wooster’s Scot Symphonic Band performs in concert on Sunday, March 3, at 2:30 p.m. (340 East University Street).
Conducted by Nancy Ditmer with associate conductor Ned Brooks, 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.
This pre-tour home concert opens with Edward Gregson’s “Festivo,” a festive piece, exuberant in style with much emphasis on rhythmic energy, followed by Jean Baptiste Arban’s “The Carnival of Venice: Fantasie and Variations for Tuba” with arrangement by Robert Sloan that will feature a tuba solo by senior Josh Charlton.
Also on the program is Frank Ticheli’s “Blue Shades,” in which he skillfully combines his love of early jazz with his own musical style, and Jan Van der Roost’s “Puszta: Four Gypsy Dances.” The dances feature alternation of temperamental, melancholic, and flamboyant moods, as well as numerous contrasting tempi, creating music that is bright, colorful, and intriguing.
Other works include John Barnes Chance’s “Variations on a Korean Folk Song” and Paul Hindemith’s “March from Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria Von Weber.” The former’s theme is based upon a folk song known as “Arrirang,” which Chance became acquainted with when he served in the eighth U.S. Army band in Seoul, Korea, while the latter is not a standard march, but features a recurring two-bar fragment originally presented in brass and developed throughout the work.
No Scot Band concert would be complete without the music of Scotland, featuring the bagpipers, drummers, and Highland dancers.
Ditmer has enjoyed a prodigious 35-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. She returned to full-time teaching after completing a two-year term as president of the National Association for Music Education from 2012-14. She received a master’s degree from the University of Iowa, where she also completed coursework for a Ph.D, and a bachelor’s degree in music education at Capital University. In April 2016, Ditmer was the recipient of an alumni achievement award from Capital in recognition of her notable accomplishments in the profession of music education as well as her service to the university.
Brooks is in his 23rd year as an associate director for the band program at Wooster, where he assists with the marching and symphonic bands. He received a bachelor’s 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 concert series, which is now in its 40th year.
The concert is free of charge and open to the public. Additional information about the concert is available by phone (330-263-2052) or by email (email@example.com).