~ By Lisa Maria Boyles, communications specialist for the College of Arts and Humanities
The Fresno State Alumni Wind Ensemble and Friends, under the direction of Dr. Lawrence Sutherland, is getting ready to head to Spain for 10 days of sight-seeing, rehearsals and performances.
Forty-one musicians – most with ties to Fresno State – will take part in the performance tour. Almost three dozen, ranging in age from 19 years old up to some who are, let’s say, more mature, have been rehearsing for the past few weeks in the band room at Clovis High School. Several other musicians will join the group in Spain, coming from their respective points in other parts of the globe.
Sutherland, who established the Western States Collegiate Wind Festival 38 years ago at Fresno State, was Fresno State’s director of bands from 1969 until 2006. (Today the wind festival has been renamed the Lawrence R. Sutherland Wind Festival in his honor.) He and his wife, Lola (percussion), are looking forward to experiencing a country they haven’t visited before.
“This trip got started two years ago when, at a concert, Anne, Ezzy [Esmeralda Lozano], Lola and I were reminiscing about past tours that we had taken with the Wind Ensemble, and we thought that it would be fun to do another one,” Sutherland said. Lozano is the band director at Clovis High. “My friend Michael Boitz, director at Saratoga High School, had told me what a great time he had with his orchestra in Spain on a World Projects trip. Since I’d never been to Spain, I thought this would be perfect.”
Joshua Coeler of Lemoore will turn 20 while the group is touring, on July 15. Coeler is a music major and plays oboe with the group. Kevin Misakian (bass clarinet), Kevin Ramirez (bassoon, also 19) and Katie Winter (clarinet) are also current music students. Tate Shoebridge (oboe) just graduated in the spring.
Nathan Sobieralski, who has the solo on “A Trumpeter’s Lullaby,” is a lecturer at Fresno State and is the trumpet studio teacher for the music department.
Five member of the Gudgel family are going – Dan and Garrett (trumpet), Jennifer (horn), Josh (trombone) and Tracy (band mom, and mom to Garrett, Jennifer and Josh).
Their first performance will be Sunday evening, July 16, in Barcelona at the Placa de la Vila in as part of the Fringe Festival of the Torroella De Montgri International Music Festival.
They will perform the next evening at the Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona as part of the Musica als Parcs summer music program.
Their final performance will be Wednesday, July 19, at the Placa de Benimaclet in Valencia as part of the City of Valencia International Wind Band Contest Fringe Festival.
The tour plans and performance itinerary were put together by World Projects Corp.
“Every group is different in what they find most rewarding but in our experience, performing for local audience and the change to hear other performance groups tend to be most memorable,” said Phillip Hobson, of World Projects, who will lead the group’s trip to Spain.
The schedule for the wind ensemble group includes a number of group activities touring the famous cities, as well as opportunities to explore on their own during free time.
Sights that the group will visit include the Sagrada Familia, a large Roman Catholic church designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí; the Palau de la Musica Catalana – one of the most beautiful concert halls in the world; and the Cathedral and the Plaza del Ayuntamento – the largest square in Valencia.
Most of the musical program the ensemble will present is classically American:
- “Hands Across the Sea” by John Philip Sousa
- “A Trumpeter’s Lullaby” and “Bugler’s Holiday” by Leroy Anderson
- “Suite of Old American Dances” by Robert Russell Bennett
- “American Riversongs” by Pierra La Plante
- “At a Dixieland Jazz Funeral” by Jared Spears
- “Slava!” by Leonard Bernstein