Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra set to launch 46th season Sunday

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
James Gai

The Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra will begin its 46th concert season Sunday, Nov. 2, under the baton of conductor Kevin Lines.

The concert will be held in the Harold L. Lickey Auditorium of Bueker Middle School in Marshall and will begin at 2:30 p.m.

This concert will feature James Gai, clarinet soloist, currently on staff as woodwind specialist at University of Central Missouri at Warrensburg. The concert is underwritten by Wood & Huston Bank of Marshall.

Gai joined the UCM faculty to teach clarinet and saxophone in 1985, following 12 years of teaching at Northern State College, Aberdeen, S.D.

A former public school band director, Gai holds Bachelor of Music Education (clarinet) and Master of Music (theory/composition) degrees from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and a Doctor of Arts (woodwind performance) from University of Northern Colorado.

He has been with the Yamaha family of artist-clinicians since 1981, performing and presenting clinics across the Mid-West and Canada.

Gai continues an active performance schedule as an extra with the Kansas City Symphony, a regular member with both the Sedalia and Lee's Summit symphonies, the After-hours Jazz Trio and the Jim Gai Big Band.

He has performed with many symphonies around the country and has played for such diverse artists as Bob Hope, Red Skelton, The Lettermen, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Roberta Peters, Ben Vereen, Tommy Netherton, Myron Floren and Bobby Layne.

Following Gai's solo appearance, a Leroy Anderson encore number will be performed by not a quartet of clarinets on stage.

"Clarinet Candy" was written in 1962, a brilliant showpiece for four clarinets in the spirit of "Bugler's Holiday." Performing with Gai will be MPO principal clarinetist, Cheryl Lines, and the first chair clarinet players in the UCM Symphonic Band and Orchestra respectively.

In addition to a well-known and popular area performer to introduce the MPO's 46th season opener, Maestro Lines has selected a world-class program of grand marches and overtures, along with a heart-stirring Irving Berlin closer.

Verdi's "Grand March from Aida" was written for the dedication of the Suez Canal. This selection, in the grand opera tradition, dates to 1871, and also marks the final operatic work for the revered Italian music master.

Tchaikovsky's "Capriccio Italien" was composed in 1880. This work was inspired by a trip the Russian composer took to Rome, during which he saw the Carnival in full swing, and is reminiscent of Italian folk music and street songs.

American composer Alfred Reed's (1921- 2005) "Festival Prelude," is a reverse transcription for full orchestra, spotlighting the composer's first instrument, the trumpet. Reed, born in New York City, wrote the majority of his compositions while assigned to the 529th Army Air Corps Band during World War II. After his discharge, he enrolled at Julliard School of Music and his musical career skyrocketed from there with conducting posts, professorships and guest appearances world-wide.

"Pique Dame Overture," written by Franz von Suppe, is one of over 300 compositions including a wide variety of folk plays, farces and ballets. This work survives from von Suppe's 1864 opera, "The Queen of Spades." Based on the Alexander Pushkin short story of the same name, the libretto follows a mysterious old countess who returns from the dead in order to exact revenge on her murderer by goading him into committing suicide.

Irving Berlin's "A Symphonic Portrait" is a well-loved medley of popular tunes, including "There's No Business Like Show Business," "Say It With Music," "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Easter Parade," "White Christmas" and "God Bless America." Lines chose this selection to close the concert in anticipation of the 2008 presidential election, Nov. 4.

The Marshall Philharmonic is honored to musically offer the community the "best of many worlds" -- amateur and professional, working and retired, young and old.

It is this special blending and the wonderful support of our community that makes the organization thrive.

Come join in enjoying, promoting and supporting the Philharmonic in its upcoming 46th season. And remember, of the very few things that are yet free in life, the Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra plays on, free and open to everyone.

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