Start giving thanks with a big concert

Concert poster, 2013-11-21Warm up for the cold weekend ahead and dance in your gazebo with the OU Band Department’s big big concert, the second and final of the Fall 2013 Semester, with a fantastic program and the talents of the many fine students of the OU School of Music, plus some faculty.

Faculty! Jonathan Nichol, professor of saxophone, lends his talents during the Symphony Band‘s performance in two movements of Paul Creston’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Band (1944): the second (“Mvt. II Meditative”) and first (“Mvt I Energetic”).  That’s part of the program conducted by Dr. Debra Traficante that also includes Leonard Bernstein’s Overture to “Candide”, the Lucien Calliet transcription of Richard Wagner’s Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral, and Paul Yoder’s transcription and arrangement of Prokofiev’s March for Military Band in B flat, Op. 99.

When the Wind Symphony takes the stage under Dr. William Wakefield, they’ll open with a newish (2011) transcription of Joseph Hellmesberger’s “Gypsy Dance” from The Pearl of Iberia—as seen here on YouTube conducted by the transcriber, Robert J. Ambrose. That’s followed by Sensemayá (1938) by Revueltas (arranged by Bencriscutto), and then guest conductor Sean Kelley with “Marches” from Symphony for Band, “West Point” (1952) by Morton Gould.

Dr. Wakefield returns for another lyrical arrangement of a Morton Lauridsen choral work, Contra Qui, Rose, as set for winds by H. Robert Reynolds.  The concert concludes with a modern masterwork for symphonic winds: Gazebo Dances by John Corigliano, arranged for concert winds by the composer in 1974 from his own set of four-hand piano pieces.  With Dr. Debra Traficante conducting, the Wind Symphony will perform all four movements of this difficult but rewarding icon of the concert repertoire.

The Sutton Series concert begins at 8:00 PM on Thursday, November 21, 2013 in Sharp Hall at the Catlett Music Center on the OU Campus.  Tickets may be purchased at the door or through the other Fine Arts ticketing services.  You can, alternatively, watch a live-stream of the concert at, but it’s much better to be there in person. We hope to see you there! Click on the poster to download your own copy in PDF format!

Wind Concert Thursday, October 3

WS-SB-2013-10-03 posterPlease join the Symphony Band and Wind Symphony for the Sutton Series Concert on Thursday, October 3, at 8:00 p.m., in Paul F. Sharp Hall.  Click on the graphic for your own poster. Music by  Paul Richards, Leslie Bassett, Timothy Mahr, Dan Welcher, Percy Grainger, Roger Zare, George Gershwin! and Frank Ticheli.

Click here for the program (complete with program notes) and click here for your own poster in PDF format.

The OU Symphony Band under the leadership of Dr. DebraTraficante has been selected to perform at 11:00 a.m.  Thursday, January 16, for the 2014 Oklahoma Music Educators Association Conference at the Tulsa Convention Center Assembly Hall.  Congratulations on being the first University “second” band to ever perform for the professional music educators conference in Oklahoma!

Helping OU Families hurt by local tornadoes

The OU Foundation uses the verb “impacted” in the description of this Help OUr Neighbor Fund, but let’s be clear: this is OU faculty, staff, and students who lost homes or property in the May 19-20, 2013 tornadoes.  They’ve been hurt—if not physically, then emotionally and financially.  They’ll need help not only now, but long after the national news crews have left Moore, Newcastle, and south Oklahoma City for the Jodi Arias sentencing.

I am guessing (and sorry to put her on the spot) that Karen Renfroe can answer any questions about this fund, but it makes perfect sense: the OU Foundation has the financial might and infrastructure to both collect and distribute emergency money for those members of the OU family whose need arose so suddenly but will last a lot longer.

The Help OUr Neighbor Fund has been created to benefit OU faculty, staff and students who lost homes or property in the recent tornadoes in the Oklahoma City area. Any and all donations received in this fund will go directly to those students or employees whose homes and property were lost. All gifts are tax-deductible. Thank you for your support and considering helping those members of our OU family who have lost so much in this tragic incident.

It sounds too antiseptic for the reality to me. Think about where you lived during the summers in Norman, or think about where your professors or GAs lived.  Imagine that wiped out on a Monday afternoon. Now remember your bank balance at the time, and how much insurance you had on an apartment or rental house.

Now think about what help would mean next week, and next month, after this week’s bottled water and hot meals are memories. And think about your bank balance today.

I have heard no reports of any affected Pride members or alumni being hurt by the tornadoes, but there was more to everyone’s OU experience than The Pride.  If you are able, please give to help the OU family recover from these storms once the live reports stop.

A surprise at the Wind Symphony concert!

At Tuesday night’s Wind Symphony concert, just before the world premiere of Until Our Rest (commissioned by OU’s chapter of ΤΒΣ), Col Alan Bonner surprised Dr. Wakefield on stage with the ΚΚΨ Distinguished Service to Music Medal.

What is that, you may ask? According to national headquarters:

The Distinguished Service to Music Medal is the highest award presented by the Fraternity. It was instituted in 1963 to honor outstanding individual contributions to bands. The areas of recognition include: composition, concert band, marching band, instrumental music education, artist performer, industrial research and progress, contributing laymen, alumni achievement, and fraternity service.

Congratulations to Dr. Wakefield!

Below: Dr. William K. Wakefield accepts the ΚΚΨ Distinguished Service to Music Medal from OU ΚΚΨ chapter president Andrew Melvin and Lt. Col. Alan K. Bonner, USAF (Ret.), National Executive Director of ΚΚΨ and ΤΒΣ. (Credit: Valorie Wakefield/University Bands.)


Wind Symphony in concert April 16

The Red & White Game heralds the end of spring football practice because the semester is winding down. That means the final concerts of the 2012-2013 academic year are at hand for all the major performing groups: the choral groups, the OU Symphony Orchestra IApril 20), and the wind performance groups we know and remember.

That starts April 16 at 8:00 PM with the year’s final performance of the OU Wind Symphony, featuring 100 years of “music of reverence, piety, and awe.” Don’t mistake that for “boring,” because this is good stuff and music you can handle after filing your taxes. Let’s look at this impressive program. Continue reading

The 2013 Spring Newsletter is here!

Download it here and read it presently, because:

It’s time for the OU Football 2013 Spring Game!

Previously known as the Red & White Game, the annual spring game on April 13, 2013, divides the team into a “red” squad and a “white” squad, who play against each other with light contact, using a modified scoring system invented by misanthropic accountants from another galaxy. But if you’re current on your dues (OUBAA dues are for each calendar year—everyone’s were due again on January 1*), you can play with current members of The Pride of Oklahoma at the game!

How can this be accomplished?

  1. Pay your 2013 dues and tell us what you plan to play at the game, either by mailing in the page in the newsletter with appropriate compensation or by visiting this page.
  2. Read the instructions for what to wear, and when to be at what location, on the front page of the newsletter. (Then read the rest of the newsletter because it’s good.)
  3. Show up on time ready to play!

That’s it! And dues are just $15.50 online ($15 in cash or by mail), so you can pay them without much sacrifice even if you can’t play in the Spring Game.  But if you can, you get in free! It’s such a deal I lack the appropriate adjectives. You can also get extra game tickets for just $5.50 ($5 in cash), and lunch in Catlett Music Center with Pride members for $10.50 ($10 cash). (Wonder what the extra funds are used for? Read the newsletter!)

Questions? Ask Rita, because Rita Knows All. (Or knows who does know.) Act now, because registrations are due on April 3. See you on April 13!


*Unless you’re a lifetime member, something which I think requires special dispensation, maybe from the Secretary of the Interior. I’m unclear on a lot of this stuff.