The University of Wisconsin-Parkside Wind Ensemble and Community Band are performing Thursday night in the university’s Bedford Concert Hall.

The concert starts at 7 p.m.

Laura Rexroth conducts both bands and will be joined at this concert by guest conductor Ray Cramer.

“It is terribly exiting to give our musicians the opportunity to work with Ray Cramer,” Rexroth said. “He is not only an incredibly gifted, internationally known conductor, but he has the ability to create musical experiences for performers and listeners that go straight to the heart.”

“This concert has music of great beauty in many shades — from quiet blendings of wonderful colors to rich and majestic textures, and also sparkling, joyful or even brassy energy.”

The Wind Ensemble’s portion of the program will feature “Gavorkna Fanfare” by Jack Stamp, which Rexroth calls “s brash and energetic fanfare for the full ensemble,” and “Sheltering Sky” by John Mackey. That piece, Rexroth said, is “a quiet and beautiful work filled with engaging harmonies that bring out the broad tone palette of the wind band.”

The Wind Ensemble is also performing “One Life Beautiful” by Julie Giroux.

This piece was commissioned by the guest conductor and his wife, Molly Cramer, and their family. It is dedicated to their daughter, Heather Cramer Reu.

The composer said of the 2010 piece, “The title — One Life Beautiful — is a double-entendre, which in one sense is referring to the person this work is dedicated to as in ‘one life’ that was beautifully lived. The other sense is a direct observation, concluding that having only one life is what makes life so sacred, tragic and so very precious.

“This is an impressionistic work musically describing that condition. Shakespeare’s ‘sweet sorrow,’ the frailty and strength of life, the meaning of what it is to truly live ‘One Life Beautiful.’”

Also on the Wind Ensemble’s program is “After a Gentle Rain,” by Anthony Iannaccone.

Community Band’s program

The UW-Parkside Community Band, made up of adult musicians in the Kenosha area, will perform “City Trees” by Michael Markowski.

The composer wrote the piece in 2012, shortly after he had moved to New York City.

He noticed the trees along the city streets, saying, “These trees have learned how to brave the concrete jungle, and it gave me solace knowing that they had flourished in such a challenging environment. For me, ‘City Trees’ is a reflection of the bravery that it often takes to venture into new worlds, embrace other cultures and lovingly encourage new ideas.”

Their program also features “Children’s March” by Percy Grainger and another piece by composer Giroux, “Symphony No. IV: Bookmarks from Japan.”

The band will perform three movements from that piece: “Fuji-San,” “Nihonbashi — Bridge Market” and “Evening Snow at Kambara.”

A work composed after Giroux saw several Japanese prints.

“Fuji-San” is based on a view of Mount Fuji covered in mist and low clouds, which slowly burn off as the day progresses.

“Evening Snow at Kambara” reflects on one of the many post stations along the Tokaido Highway offering food, lodging and stables for travelers in the 1800s.

“Nihonbashi” reflects a Tokyo landmark, the bridge that spans the Nihonbashi River. Giroux’s folk-sounding melody “captures the spirit of the bridge all the way back to 1603 — starting out as a fish market, then becoming a place for merchants to gather,” Rexroth said.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for senior citizens, faculty/staff members and students. For more information, call 262-595-2564.

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