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Guest composer Samuel Hazo headlines conference

March 19, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's School of Music, with guest artist Samuel R. Hazo, will host three performances and several special sessions during the 40th annual Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion Music Thursday, April 3.

The daylong conference begins with rehearsals at 8:30 a.m. and will conclude with a 7:30 p.m. performance by the University Symphonic Band and Samuel R. Hazo All-Star Band. Held each year to promote the performance, understanding and composition of quality wind and percussion music, the event is open free of charge to music educators, high school and college students, parents, and anyone interested in band music. All activities take place in WMU's Miller Auditorium and Dalton Center Recital Hall. Details on the day's scheduled performances follow.

For additional information on rehearsals or special sessions, please contact David Montgomery at (269) 387-4702 or John Lychner at (269) 387-4628.

40th annual Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion Music
Thursday, April 3

1 p.m., Miller Auditorium
The Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion Music's opening act is a concert presented by the Rockford (Michigan) High School Wind Ensemble. The band, which is led by Brian E. Phillips, will perform Hazo's "Chorus Angelorum," among other works.

2:45 p.m., Miller Auditorium
The DeSoto (Texas) High School Wind Symphony will perform under the direction of Harry D. Blake. Among other pieces, the ensemble will present Hazo's "Solas Ane." The program also features a movement that Blake has dedicated "to the memory of Leonard V. Meretta--colleague, mentor, friend." Meretta, professor emeritus of music and founder of the WMU bands program, passed away July 23.

7:30 p.m., Miller Auditorium
The Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion Music culminates with an evening performance featuring the University Symphonic Band, led by David W. Montgomery, assistant director of bands at WMU. Also performing will be the 120-member Samuel R. Hazo All-Star Band, which represents some 70 Michigan high schools. The band is composed of students who have been nominated by their band directors as outstanding performers. The closing concert features two of Hazo's original compositions: "Sky is Waiting," performed by the University Symphonic Band, and "Ride," performed by the Samuel R. Hazo All-Star Band.

Guest artist Samuel R. Hazo
Each year, the Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion Music focuses on one guest composer and conductor whose works are featured throughout the day's events. This year's featured artist is Hazo. Recipient of the National Band Association's 2001 Biennial Composition Award, he has received a number of professional commissions in addition to composing original scores for TV, radio and stage. His works have been featured in full-length programs on National Public Radio, and his original symphonic compositions include performances with Brooke Shields, James Earl Jones, David Conrad and Richard Kiley. He has also written arrangements for three-time Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Lucinda Williams.

Hazo has served as a music teacher at every grade level, kindergarten through college, including tenure as a high school and university band director. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Duquesne University, where he served on the Board of Governors and was named Duquesne's Outstanding Graduate in Music Education. He serves as a clinician and is currently a faculty member in Pennsylvania's Upper St. Clair School District.

Media contact: Kevin West, (269) 387-4678, kevin.west@wmich.edu

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