UNA Bands presents the annual President’s Concert Friday, April 28, at 7:00 p.m., in Norton Auditorium.
This year’s concert is titled “Revolutionary!” and features revolutionary music as well as music written about revolutions.
“We are programming music which has been associated with new artistic ideas, new musical movements and revolutionary concepts of performance,” said Dr. Lloyd Jones, UNA’s director of bands. “There is something on the program for everyone to enjoy!”
Fittingly, the first half of the concert, featuring the UNA Wind Ensemble, opens with two John Phillip Sousa pieces—Sousa’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “The Gallant Seventh March.” The band continues with “Carnival of Venice,” a virtuoso composition that features four musicians who challenge each other’s musical muscle throughout the number.
“Hannah Jacobs of Double Springs, Alabama; Logan Murphree of Harvest, Alabama; Wade Dillingham of Florence; and Ben Thompson of Fairview, Alabama, will light up the concert hall with their incredible technique and virtuosity,” said Jones.
The Wind Ensemble closes the first portion of the concert with “Whirlwinds” by Richard Saucedo, a piece that, according to the composer, is a “flourish of notes and rhythms meant to stir the kind of emotion one might experience during the running of a 50- or 100-yard dash.”
The 130-member UNA Symphonic Band opesn the second portion of the concert with “Alleluia, Laudamus Te!” This piece was written as a hymn of praise without words, with the band serving as a single massive choir.
With great pride and pleasure, the UNA Bands will once again perform “Armed Forces Salute,” a proud musical tradition that honors the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. The Symphonic Band will end the set with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.
The UNA Studio Jazz Band kicks off the final portion of the concert with Woody Herman’s biggest hit, “Woodchopper’s Ball,” and vocalist Hannah Jacobs is featured on “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “All I do Is Dream of You.”
The highlight of the evening will be a performance by special guest and UNA alum Melvin “Melly” Baldwin. Baldwin will provide the beat on “Cute,” Neil Hefti’s composition for the Count Basie Orchestra. Originally written to feature then Basie drummer Sonny Payne, this piece was performed by Baldwin during his days as a student at UNA during the mid-1980s.
The concert concludes with a stirring rendition of the revolutionary song that Louis Prima penned for the Benny Goodman Band in 1938, “Sing, Sing, Sing.”
“Melvin Baldwin and all the UNA jazz drummers will get in on the act,” said Jones. “We may just start our own revolution!”
Baldwin began studying the snare drum at the age of nine in his hometown of Waukegan, Illinois. After relocating to Alabama with his family, Baldwin grew as a musician at Decatur High School. Later, he received a full music scholarship to UNA, where he performed with the marching band, concert band, percussion ensemble and jazz ensemble. It was in the jazz ensemble where he became serious about set playing.
Since graduating from UNA, “Melly” has appeared on The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman, and Saturday Night Live, as well as The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The View and Dancing with the Stars.
Now making his home in the metro Atlanta area, Baldwin recently completed a tour with New Edition after previously touring with Justin Bieber. He has also toured extensively with numerous artists, such as Bell Biv DeVoe, Bobby Brown, Keith Sweat, En Vogue and Indigo Girls.
Adult tickets for “Revolutionary!” are $10 and student tickets are $5. Military personnel (with ID) and children 10 and under are free at the door. Tickets are available for purchase at una.edu/music, at the Lindsey Theatre Box Office (MWF, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.) and at the door.