NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The Wichita Wind Ensembles opens the 2011-12 season this Saturday with a Bethel College faculty member performing the world premiere of a euphonium piece he commissioned.
The concert, by the Wichita Wind Ensembles Professional Band, begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17. This year, the Wichita Wind Ensembles begin performing in a brand-new venue, the Forum Theatre at 147 S. Hillside in Wichita.
Single-performance tickets are $15, or $13 for senior citizens, with season tickets also available. Tickets can be ordered by phone at 316-618-0444; by visiting the Forum Theatre box office at 147 S. Hillside (office doors on English Street), 12:30-6 p.m., Monday through Friday; or online at www.wichitawindensembles.org.
The overall theme for the WWE 2011-12 season is “Music – An Expression of Life,” with the theme for the opening concert being “Music – An Expression from the Mountains to the Sea.” Among the pieces on the program for Sept. 17 are “Islas y Montañas” by Shelley Hanson, “By Loch and Mountain” by Robert W. Smith, “Sea Songs” by Thomas Knox and “Brighton Beach March” by William P. Latham.
Timothy Shade, Bethel College instructor of music and principal euphonium for the WWE Professional Band, will be giving the world premiere of “Parallax” by Thomas Sleeper, director of orchestral activities and conductor of the Frost Symphony Orchestra at the University of Miami.
“I had heard his ‘Horn Concerto’ and ‘Trumpet Concerto’ while I was in Miami,” says Shade, who has a degree in music performance from the University of Miami, where he studied with Sleeper. “Then he wrote a piece for trombone that was spectacular as well, so I just had to ask him to write me a piece. He said ‘Yes’ instantly.”
Shade continues, “I tried to give him a lot of freedom in writing the piece. He said he remembered my playing and so he was going after aspects of my playing the piece. I wanted his voice to really shine. I didn’t want to hinder his creative process.
“I asked for a 7- to 10-minute piece and got a 9-minute, spectacular work for euphonium, winds and percussion.”
Sleeper’s program notes for the Sept. 17 Wichita concert call the piece “a dramatic work for euphonium and wind ensemble in one movement, [that] explores one of my favorite brass instruments. I have always enjoyed the flexibility and rich palette of sound and colors available on the euphonium. I am grateful to Tim Shade for approaching me with the opportunity to write for him and a consortia of colleagues.
“The word ‘parallax’ comes from the Greek parallaxis, meaning ‘alteration.’ I have taken a series of cellular musical thoughts, altered and positioned them in various ways so as to create new materials simply by the realignment.”
Shade adds, “Another fun thing about this concert is that it is being conducted by my mentor Gary Green, also from the University of Miami. When John [Taylor, music director for the WWE Professional Band] was putting this concert together, he told me he was thinking about asking Green to come and conduct, and that he thought this would be a really good reason for him to come – I will also be playing the piece later this year in Miami.”
The Wichita Wind Ensembles, formed in 1991, is an organization of concert bands auditioned from middle school and high school musicians across south central Kansas. WWE bands have achieved many recognitions and awards. The WWE Professional Band, an adult paid wind ensemble organized in 2007, consists of approximately 50 musicians. Repertoire includes both traditional and new literature. In addition to music director John W. Taylor, the staff includes assistant conductors.
Timothy Shade is instructor of music and director of instrumental music and music education at Bethel College, where he is responsible for the Bethel College Chamber Orchestra and the Bethel College Wind Ensemble and gives private instruction in low brass.
Shade holds a music performance degree in euphonium and jazz trombone from Youngstown (Ohio) State University and was a graduate assistant in the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, Coral Gables, Fla., where he completed a music performance degree in euphonium and conducting.
As a trombonist, Shade has shared the stage with well-known performers such as Wessell “Warm Daddy” Anderson, John Clayton, Harold Danko, Joey DeFrancesco, Conrad Herwig, Sean Jones, Darren Kramer, Wynton Marsalis, Jim McNeely, Bernadette Peters, and The Modernaires. Shade is also in demand as a euphonium performer.
A proponent for new music, Shade has premiered several new works and is currently in the process of commissioning more repertoire for the euphonium. He is currently working on commissioning projects with Steve Danyew, a colleague from the Frost School of Music now studying at the Eastman School of Music, and Fulbright Scholar and Guggenheim Fellow Paul Rudy from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music.