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Colors Passing Through Us

Here is my bouquet, here is a sing
song of all the things you make
me think of, here is oblique
praise for the height and depth
of you and the width too.
Here is my box of new crayons at your feet.

from “Colors Passing Through Us”, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003) — Marge Piercy (b. 1936)

When Manitou Winds takes the stage again on Saturday, October 15, 2022, at Central United Methodist Church, Traverse City, it will be the first seasonal concert our ensemble has been able to perform since September 2019. We’re excited to share music with you again, and our upcoming concert program is one you won’t want to miss!

Our program title, taken from a poem by Marge Piercy, alludes to the broadest brushstrokes of color we can encounter: color in nature, color in emotion, color in music… is there a limit? You’re invited to explore with us!

The program opens with Avian Suite by composer (and oboist) Stacey J. Berk (b. 1970). Composed in 2011 for the Polaris Wind Quintet, the work presents five movements, each depicting a different bird in its natural habitat. The soaring eagle, the owl on her eerie nocturnal hunt, the plucky territorial chickadee, the elegant swan, and the tiny hummingbird powered by nectar — you’ll hear them all take flight! This quintet has been dog-eared in our library for a while. We’ve read it and discussed it in rehearsals, and we’re eager to finally have an opportunity to share it with you.

Tom Bara & J.T. McKinney

Next we’ll be joined by special guest Thomas Bara, Instructor of Organ at Interlochen Center for the Arts and organist at Central United Methodist Church, Traverse City. Together we’ll perform Traveling Mercies by J.T. McKinney, a work for wind quintet and organ. Jason describes the work as, “a tone poem about wanderlust in which the central character seeks excitement and wisdom from faraway places, eventually returning home to find peace among familiar surroundings through the lens of his new perspective.” The limitless palette of the organ melds with the striking colors of our wind quintet to create a cinematic soundtrack.

Continuing in the theme of travel, we’ll perform Travel Notes 2 by Richard Rodney Bennett (1936-2012). An Academy Award-nominated composer of TV and film music known for his eclectic compositional interests from classical to jazz to modernist avant-garde, Bennett’s woodwind quartet presents four short musical essays depicting scenes from an adventurous vacation. Soaring high above in a hot air balloon, zipping around in a thrilling helicopter ride, relaxing poolside in an easy chair, and speeding through crowded streets in a car chase — this piece certainly keeps our fingers busy!

And we’ll end our journey with Swansea Town by Gordon Jacob (1895-1984) which is based on a Hampshire folk tune of the same name. Our fellow band musicians will immediately recognize the tune since it was featured in the opening movement of Gustav Holst’s Second Suite in F. But, unlike Holst’s treatment, Jacob’s rendition takes the listener through a series of eight variations where we can imagine the tune traveling on the wind to visit the various town folk busily going about their day.

We hope you’ll join us for a delightful autumn evening of evocative music and thoughtfully curated poetry and prose. Admission is free! Your goodwill donations will benefit our ensemble’s efforts to spread music and creativity throughout our region and beyond.

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