RIC Wind Ensemble, Dance Company present “Songs and Dances,” March 2

Rhode Island College Wind Ensemble
A performance of double the fun, excitement and passion will be on display in a unique collaboration between the RIC Wind Ensemble and the RIC Dance Company, who will present “Songs and Dances” on Friday, March 2, at 8 p.m. in the Nazarian Center’s Sapinsley Hall.

Robert Franzblau, RIC professor and director of bands, will conduct. Dancers will be featured on stage while the Wind Ensemble plays in the orchestra pit in front of them.

Kathy Gordon Smith, assistant professor of dance at RIC, choreographed the Dance Company’s opening routine to “Scratchband” by American composer John Adams. Students in the Dance Company also collaborated with Professor Smith in creating the choreography. “Scratchband” – a 15-minute piece for a contemporary chamber ensemble – is written for seven wind instruments plus electric guitar and bass, drums, piano and synthesizer.

“This piece takes rhythmic complexity to a whole new level for RIC students – both the musicians and the dancers – creating challenges in not only learning their individual parts, but more importantly in the coordination of those parts,” said Franzblau. “Adams’ musical influences include so many styles of classical and popular music; everything from minimalism to funk, rock and trance. And he wrote this piece fearlessly, for an ensemble of highly skilled professionals. We’ve never tackled anything quite as difficult."

Franzblau added that he was "totally impressed with the talent and dedication of the RIC Dance Company members. They are really stretching themselves artistically and technically.”

RIC Dance Company (Photo: Kate Noel)
The concert will also include Arturo Márquez’s “Danzon No. 2,” inspired by traditional Cuban dance bands from the early 1900’s. Marquez is becoming one of the most frequently performed Mexican contemporary classical composers today.

The “songs” in “Songs and Dances” will be represented by two lyrical works: Eric Whitacre’s “Sleep,” originally written for choir and transcribed by the composer for wind ensemble, and Charles Griffes’ “Poem” for flute. Soloist on “Poem” will be RIC senior music education major Kaitlyn Braman, winner of the 2012 Senior Concerto Competition.

The concert will conclude with Frank Ticheli’s epic work “Angels in the Architecture,” whose mood alternates between songs of peace and demonic dance rhythms. RIC student Sarah Kane will be featured as the vocal soloist in this work, which incorporates the old Shaker tune “Angel of Light.”

Tickets for the concert are $10, with discounts for seniors and non-RIC students; free for RIC faculty, alumni, students and staff. For your convenience, tickets can be purchased as follows: in advance via Visa, MasterCard or Discover by calling (401) 456-8144 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays; or in person at the Nazarian Center Box Office in Roberts Hall. The Box Office is also open for sales two hours prior to performance start time in the appropriate show venue.

For more information, contact Robert Franzblau at (401) 456-9514 or rfranzblau@ric.edu.