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Wind and percussion festival features free concerts

March 25, 2010

KALAMAZOO--The 42nd annual Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion Music at Western Michigan University will culminate with a closing concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 8, at Miller Auditorium.

The closing concert will feature performances by the Western Michigan University Symphonic Band, conducted by Robert L. Spradling, and the 120-member Robert Sheldon All-Star Band. Students from more than 50 Michigan high schools are expected to be nominated by their band directors for the honor of performing in this band. Traditionally, more than 90 percent of the ensemble's membership is awarded to musicians who hold first-chair positions in their own high school bands.

The day's activities also include two afternoon band concerts at Miller Auditorium. The Parchment High School Symphonic Band, conducted by Beth A. Jonker, will perform at 1 p.m., and the Galesburg-Augusta High School Symphonic Band, conducted by Janice K. Edgerton, will perform at 2:45 p.m.

All three concerts are free and open to the public.

WMU's Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion Music is a daylong event presented each year to promote the performance, understanding, and composition of quality wind and percussion music. Each year the festival focuses on a guest composer and conductor whose works are featured during the conference. This year's featured artist is composer Robert Sheldon.

Conference activities will take place at the Dalton Center and are open to the public free of charge.

For more information, visit the Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion Music online.

Robert Sheldon

Sheldon has taught in Florida and Illinois public schools and at Florida State University. He holds a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Miami and a master's degree in instrumental conducting from the University of Florida.

He has conducted regional and all-state honor bands throughout the United States, as well as in Japan, Canada, Australia and China. He has conducted performances of his own works in New York's Carnegie Hall, Chicago's Orchestra Hall, Boston's Symphony Hall, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. He is conductor of the Prairie Wind Ensemble in residence at Illinois Central College, he teaches composition at Bradley University, and is concert band editor for Alfred Music Publishing.

The American School Band Directors Association has honored Sheldon with the Volkwein Award for composition and the Stanbury Award for teaching, and the International Assembly of Phi Beta Mu named him International Outstanding Bandmaster. He is a 23-time recipient of ASCAP's Standard Award for his band compositions. His works have been recorded and released on compact discs including "Images: The Music of Robert Sheldon" and "Infinite Horizons: The Music of Robert Sheldon." He has been the topic of articles published in The Instrumentalist, Teaching Music and School Band, and Orchestra Magazine, and he is one of 11 American wind band composers featured in Volume I of "Composers on Composing Music for Band."

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Media contact: Kevin West, (269) 387-4681, kevin.west@wmich.edu

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