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Sycamore High School Symphonic Band to Perform Commissioned Piece

SYCAMORE-The Sycamore High School Band is pleased to announce their upcoming spring concert, which will be held on Thursday, May 16, at 7:30 p.m., in the Sycamore High School Auditorium.  Both the Concert Band and Symphonic Band will perform various band pieces with water-based themes, including Handel’s Water Music, the spiritual Deep River, and Gliere’s Russian Sailors’ Dance.  The Symphonic Band will also perform the new composition Deep, Like the Rivers, composed by Robert Bradshaw. This piece was commissioned by Bill Gilmer’s family in honor of his upcoming retirement as band director after teaching the past 28 years at Willowbrook High School in Villa Park, IL. Ken Goodman, SHS Band Director, is a Willowbrook High School alumnus and a former student of Bill Gilmer.  This piece was co-commissioned by bands from Sycamore High School, Addison Trail High School, St. Charles East High School, and Bowling Green State University.  This will be only the second performance of this new work for band.

Deep, Like the Rivers, as stated in the program notes, is the culmination of a series of events, conversations and research that when reflected on, defined itself into several distinct musically emotional areas.Its unique opening begins with an electronic recording of Langston Hughes’ narration of his poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”.  Additional sections reflect on the history of Chicago and its many festivals and culture; its ghosts, revelry and gangsters; and the history and changing of the Chicago River.

Composer Robert Bradshaw recently visited Sycamore High School and worked with musicians from the Symphonic Band.  He listened to the band perform, offered suggestions, explained the background and history of this piece, and answered questions from students. SHS Band Director Ken Goodman commented, “It was a pleasure to have Mr. Bradshaw take the time to travel to Sycamore and participate in our rehearsal. It was a great opportunity for the students to meet the composer in person and have the experience of working directly with a living composer.”

Ken Goodman added “I would like to acknowledge and thank the Sycamore Music Boosters for their assistance in providing funds for the co-commissioning of this piece. This has been a wonderful experience and a unique opportunity for our students.”  The public is invited to this free concert on Thursday, May 16, at 7:30 p.m., in the Sycamore High School Auditorium.

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