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Band’s Spring Concert To Feature “Moby Dick”

April 11, 2002

The featured piece on the program, "Of Sailors and Whales," by W. Francis McBeth, is a five-movement work inspired by chapters from Herman Melville's literary classic, Moby Dick. The 20-minute work includes narration before each movement.

"The descriptive and programmatic work is a favorite of the band's as well as audiences around the country," said Dr. Jim Hansford, conductor of the Symphonic Band.

The augmented percussion section requires about 7 players for the piece, including a large mallet percussion group, chimes, glockenspiel, xylophone, and vibraphone, along with tom-toms, several bass drums, congas, wind chimes, claves, sleigh bells, woodblock, and tam-tam. Several other instruments including piano and timpani play an especially important part in the song.

"Of Sailors and Whales," written in 1990, was commissioned by the California Band Director's Association and premiered that year by the state's All-State Band. McBeth, who recently retired as professor of music at Ouachita Baptist University, has received the ASCAP Special Award, the Howard Hanson Composition Prize from the Eastman School of Music for his "Third Symphony" and many other awards and prizes. The governor of Arkansas appointed McBeth "Composer Laureate of the State of Arkansas" in 1975.

Other works on the program include: "Festival Intrada" by William Mac Davis; "Lagan Love" by Lugi Zaninelli; "Fantasia in G" by Timothy Mahr; "Be Thou My Vision" by David Gillingham; "The Slavic Women's Farewell," a march by Russian composer Vasilij Agapkin; and a special setting by Zaninelli of the patriotic work, "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

The concert also will mark the final performance for OBU graduating seniors James Brandt, Okemah, Amy Branscum, Morrison, Dusty Higgins, Tecumseh, and Mike Hagedon, Tucson, Ariz.

Hansford, who joined OBU's faculty in 1990, is an active adjudicator, clinician and guest conductor. He served three times as conductor of the Texas Baptist All-State Band and conducted the Oklahoma Baptist All-State Symphonic Band this summer for the sixth consecutive year on its tour to Vancouver, B.C. Most recently Hansford conducted the Region II, 4-A Honor Band in Abilene, Texas and the Region XV, 5-A Honor Wind Ensemble in McAllen, Texas.

Before coming to OBU, he served for eight years as a music professor and director of bands at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas, and as director of bands at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Okla. He also was minister of music at First Baptist Church in Durant for seven years and a band director in the public schools in Freeport and Denton, Texas.

He earned a bachelor of music degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and master and doctor of philosophy degrees in music at the University of North Texas in Denton.

The concert is free and open to the public.