TBAC concert features symphony bands

Thunder Bay Arts Council will present a Community Showcase Series on April 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Alpena High School Auditorium, featuring the East Shore Wind Symphony and the Thunder Bay Junior High School Symphonic Band. Also featured will be flute soloist Angela Salacata.

The ESWS was founded in February of 2010, and today is Northeast Michigan’s leading professional wind band. Comprised of 50 woodwind, brass and percussion players, the band performs an eclectic blend of musical styles ranging from Bach to Bernstein and Sousa to Strauss.

ESWS combines the tradition of the British brass band with the musical heritage of the American town band and the pioneering spirit of the 20th century wind ensemble. The symphony makes its home in Standish.

In its brief history, ESWS has shared the stage with guest musicians, including award-winning composer David Gillingham, the MountainTown Singers, and various vocal and instrumental groups. In December 2012, the ESWS hosted its first annual honors band which combined the talents of over 100 students from varying regions of the state of Michigan.

In January of 2012, the ESWS was an honored ensemble presenting a session at the prestigious Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids. The ESWS is under the direction of Doug Burtch, who has conducted and taught at all levels, including elementary music, middle and high school, collegiate and adult bands.

During his tenure at Central Michigan University as a graduate conducting assistant, Burtch was praised for his original programming, and is credited with starting and producing the first annual Chippewa Band-O-Rama concert, conducting the premier of the CMU Campus Band and working collaboratively with the choral department to produce the first ever performance of the CMU Chamber Choir and Symphony Band.

During his tenure as a public school teacher, ensembles under Burtch’s direction consistently received superior ratings at Michigan School Band & Orchestra Association festivals and were invited to perform at Walt Disney World and the prestigious Michigan Music Conference.

Burtch’s research on the management and leadership of school music programs was twice selected for presentation at state and regional conferences. He is included in six editions of Who’s Who Among American Teachers, and was awarded an honorary membership in the national band fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi.

He also was honored to conduct the MSBOA District IX Junior Honor Band in January 2013.

Burtch is a champion of instrumental music and is in constant demand as a clinician and adjudicator. He is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, the National Band Association, and the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association.

The Thunder Bay Junior High School Symphonic Band is the premier wind and percussion group at the junior high school. Under the direction of Raymond Reynolds, the band has a rich history of outstanding accomplishments and performances.

In both 1994 and 1999, the eighth grade Symphonic Band was a featured concert band at the MSBOA Midwestern Conference on School Vocal and Instrumental Music held in Ann Arbor.

The TBJHS band program exposes students to a wide variety of musical opportunities and experiences so they gain a greater understanding of the instrumental music field. Highlights during each school year include exposure to many different guest soloists, clinicians and composers. The students of Reynolds are able to hear and work with performers such as Jean Moorehead-Libs, Rich Illman and Joseph Lulloff.

In April 1997, the eighth grade Concert Band premiered the “Maelstrom,” a piece commissioned and composed expressly for this band by Robert W. Smith. Smith traveled to Alpena to share his expertise with the instrumental music students and to guest conduct the piece at the annual Spring Concert.

Reynolds also commissioned for the eighth grade Symphonic Band a full band work, “Joyous Alleluias,” and a percussion ensemble, “Dynamo,” from Dr. Jared Spears, which was premiered during their performance at the 54th Midwestern Conference in Ann Arbor in 1999.

May 2001 brought the premiere performance of “Snapshots of the Great Lakes,” commissioned for the eighth grade Symphonic Band by sought after band composer James Curnow.

Reynolds is currently in his 23rd year of teaching with Alpena Public Schools. At the time of his arrival to TBJHS, the instrumental program numbered 175 students. Within a five-year period, that number exceeded 300.

During his tenure in Alpena, his bands have consistently received top honors, earning over 100 Division I ratings at district and state levels. Historically, Reynolds is recognized as the only single director in the state to have five bands from one school qualify for MSBOA State Festival in a school year (1996).

Reynolds serves on the faculty of the prestigious Interlochen Fine Arts Camp. He is an active MSBOA Band/Orchestra and Solo-Ensemble adjudicator and has been a member of the American School Band Director’s Association since 1996. As a member of MSBOA since 1986, Reynolds has served as District XIV president and District IX president and vice president of adjudication.

He also has been a part of the music ed committee since 1992, chairing the committee from 1995-97.

Salacata is an eighth grade student at TBJHS and is principal flutist of the Symphonic Band. During her young career, she has also performed with the MSBOA District 9 All-Star Band the past two years and this year with the MSBOA All-State Band and the East Shore Wind Symphony Honor Band.

Salacata attended Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, performing in the Blue Lake Symphonic Band, and is currently preparing to travel to Europe this summer with the Blue Lake International Band. She studies privately with MaryAnn Hubbard. She is the daughter of Drs. Abraham Salacata and Anabel Villanueva.

The doors for the April 13 concert will open at 7 p.m. Cost is $10 for adults and students are free. Tickets can be purchased at the door.