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Western Wind Quintet concert canceled

Updated: Feb. 5, 2008

KALAMAZOO--The Western Wind Quintet concert scheduled for this evening, Feb. 5, in the Dalton Center at Western Michigan University has been canceled due to illness.

Western Wind Quintet celebrates Mardi Gras

Feb. 1, 2008

KALAMAZOO--The Western Wind Quintet, a resident faculty ensemble at Western Michigan University, celebrates Mardi Gras with a concert on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 5. The performance begins at 8:15 p.m. in the Dalton Center Recital Hall, and features music with cultural ties to New Orleans--the city known worldwide for its Mardi Gras festival.

General admission seating is $10 and $5 for students and senior citizens. Tickets are available by calling (269) 387-2300 or (800) 228-9858, online at millerauditorium.com, or by visiting the Miller Auditorium Ticket Office.

Beginning in the 18th century, New Orleans had unique ethnic diversity, melding American traditions with those of Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. This strongly influenced the city's music, which included everything from spiritual, with African roots, to the European dance forms that foreshadowed ragtime. During its performance, the Western Wind Quintet will highlight the cultural influences that painted the music scene of the city many call "the birthplace of jazz."

The traditional American spiritual, with its African-based rhythmic drive, had a profound effect on New Orleans jazz. The Western Wind Quintet pays tribute to the city's roots with three spirituals arranged by Valerie Coleman, flutist with the Imani Winds.

Europe persuasion came to New Orleans in part through Cuba. Louis Moreau Gottschalk, one of New Orleans' most prominent 19th-century musicians, often traveled to Cuba to work with piano virtuoso and composer Ignacio Cervantes. Because Cervantes also studied in Paris, his danzas for piano are based on the French contredanse, but with a syncopated feel characteristic of Cuban music. His style influenced the ragtime music of New Orleans in the late 19th century. The Western Wind Quintet demonstrates this with several of Cervantes' piano miniatures, "Danzas Cubanas."

Lalo Schifrin is a well-known composer of film and television scores, including "Mission Impossible" and "Bullitt." The Western Quintet performs his "La Nouvelle Orleans" for wind quintet, which evokes a nostalgic view of New Orleans before the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The piece begins with a New Orleans funeral parade, the somber procession punctuated by grieving outbursts. Solo declarations by each instrument lead to the customary celebratory return from the graveyard.

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

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