RIC Wind Ensemble reaches out for season premiere Oct. 9

RIC Wind Ensemble
Reaching out to the local community is a cornerstone policy for Rhode Island College President Nancy Carriuolo. “A Young Persons Guide to the Band,” an upcoming RIC Wind Ensemble concert does precisely that. The concert will take place on Friday, Oct. 9, at 8 p.m. in the Nazarian Center’s Sapinsley Hall.

The concert features guest conductor, Edward S. Lisk. Lisk is an internationally recognized clinician who has, over a distinguished career, guest-conducted bands such as the Australian Wind Symphony and the U.S. Air Force Band.

Robert Franzblau
Robert Franzblau, director of bands at RIC and conductor of the RIC Wind Ensemble, said he wanted to “showcase some of the area’s best high school talent” by inviting them to perform in the upcoming concert. The idea is to give high school students from Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts, what Franzblau called as “a peak experience” in what performing and studying is like at RIC.

Franzblau described the concert as “retrospective, prospective and perspective,” both because the compositions selected are representative of band music history and because young musicians are ultimately the future of band music.

Franzblau suggested that with many highly regarded music colleges in the area, some people don’t realize that a quality education is waiting for them at RIC. “RIC prides itself not only on its musical education but also on the quality of its performers. Our professors frequently are active members in New England’s music scene,” Franzblau said.

“Music is a fundamental part of humanity and culture. In the face of budget cuts we are trying to maintain the quality of our musical education, while still reaching out to the local community,” said Franzblau.

Budget reductions are also endemic to elementary and secondary education, where many children begin to study music. A report by the Washington-based Center for Budget Policy and Planning, stated that Rhode Island schools, along with more than half the states in the union, have cut funds to school districts for K-12 education as well as teacher training. Music programs are often one of the first to suffer during times of budget cuts.

Edward S. Lisk
Prior to the concert Lisk and a panel of experts will conduct a town-hall style forum on the future music education, titled “Wither School Bands?” The forum will take place from 4-6 p.m. on Oct. 9 in the Nazarian Center’s Sapinsley Hall.

Lisk, past-president of the National Band Association and a member of the American Bandmaster Association, will be joined by Frank L. Battisti, conductor emeritus of the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, along with David Neves, coordinator of fine arts for public schools in Needham, Mass., and Richard L. Pearson, the principal of Medway High School in Massachusetts. Admission to the forum is free and will be streamed live at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/whitherschool-bands-a-town-hall-meeting.

On Oct. 10, RIC will host a conducting symposium led by Lisk, for local high school band conductors and graduate students.

General admission to “A Young Persons Guide to the Band” is $10; seniors and non-RIC students, $5. Free for RIC students, faculty and staff.