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ASO Opens Season with All-American Program

October 02, 2013

A tuba concerto and Copland’s “Buckaroo Holiday” highlight “a terrific all-American program featuring music that is challenging for the players but enjoyable and fun for the audience,” says Murray Gross, music director and conductor.

The Alma Symphony Orchestra opens its 54th season with a program of American music, including Howard Hanson’s gorgeous “Romantic” Symphony and the exciting rhythms of Aaron Copland’s “Buckaroo Holiday.”

The concert takes place at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13 in the Remick Heritage Center at Alma College. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors 62 and up, and free for Alma College staff, students and youth 18 and under. Seating is reserved. Call (989) 463-7304 for ticket information.

“We are opening our season with a terrific all-American program featuring music that is challenging for the players but enjoyable and fun for the audience,” says Murray Gross, music director and conductor.

Murray Gross directs the Alma Symphony Orchestra.Murray Gross directs the Alma Symphony Orchestra.

The program opens with Copland’s “Buckaroo Holiday,” from the ballet “Rodeo,” a piece that is “colorful, exciting and an audience favorite,” says Gross.

“Copland is a master of making music that is challenging to play with a lot of difficult rhythms, but he always captures a folksy, Western quality that makes it appealing to the audience,” he says.

The title of Roger Zare’s “Sea of Tranquility,” composed in 2007, is taken from the site where Apollo 11 landed and Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon’s surface in 1969. “It’s a lovely piece for strings,” says Gross.

The orchestra’s performance of Bruce Broughton’s “Concerto for Tuba” will feature soloist Randy Westmoreland. A music instructor at Alma College, Westmoreland has performed as a soloist from New Jersey to Colorado and has been a featured soloist with the Notre Dame Concert Band and the Capital City Brass Band.

“One usually doesn’t hear the tuba in a solo capacity — and most people have never heard a tuba concerto — but this is a very enjoyable and fun piece,” says Gross.

The concert closes with Hanson’s Symphony No. 2, also known as the “Romantic” symphony.

“This is a very familiar piece heard often in concerts, over the radio and in films,” says Gross “It’s called the ‘Romantic’ symphony because of the beauty of its melodies.”

The 80-member Alma Symphony Orchestra includes a mix of professional musicians from the mid-Michigan area and Alma College student-performers.

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