April 20, 2011
Senior music major Kentaro Yamada (center) reviews his recent composition with Nancy Ditmer (left) and Jack Gallagher (right). The eight-movement piece will be debuted by the Scot Symphonic Band at its next concert on Sunday, May 1, at 7:30 p.m. in McGaw Chapel.
WOOSTER, Ohio — An original composition by College of Wooster senior Kentaro Yamada will highlight the Scot Symphonic Band’s annual spring concert on Sunday, May 1, at 7:30 p.m. in McGaw Chapel (340 E. University St.). The piece, an eight-movement epic based on a famous French folksong that everyone will recognize, features elements of pop, jazz, and classical music, arranged to represent the various experiences of Yamada’s four years at Wooster.
“Ever since high school, I have been addicted to this song,” said Yamada, a senior music composition major from Japan. “I began working on it about a year ago, and I am very happy with the way it turned out.
The piece consists of several unusual scales that are difficult to play, but fun to hear, and Yamada is confident that his fellow band members can pull it off. “It’s very complicated,” he said, “but our student musicians in the band are very good.”
Yamada, who plays the tuba, is one of those musicians, and he is grateful for the opportunity to have the band debut his work. “I’m really excited about it,” he said. “This is my first composition for a band this size.”
A graduate of Jakarta International School in Indonesia, Yamada was encouraged to consider attending Wooster by his high school band director, John Salminen, who not only made the recommendation, but also was the first to expose Yamada to music. “I would not be composing music, and I would not be here at Wooster if it weren’t for Mr. Salminen,” said Yamada. “He told me that Wooster would be a good place for me and that I could succeed here.”
Yamada is also appreciative of the support and guidance he received from Jack Gallagher, professor of music at Wooster and his advisor for the project; Jeffrey Lindberg, professor of music and director of the Wooster Symphony Orchestra and The College of Wooster Jazz Ensemble; David Lueschen, director of the Wooster Brass Ensemble; and of course, Nancy Ditmer, director of the Scot Marching and Symphonic Bands, as well as the students in the band. “I need to thank all of them,” said Yamada, who plans to return to his native Japan after graduation and write music for television shows and movies. “I could not have done this without their help.”
Ditmer described Yamada as a dedicated and strong contributor to the Scot Marching and Symphonic Bands, both as a musician and as a person. “His affable personality and strong musicianship have endeared him to his fellow students and to all of us who work with the band program,” she said. “His composition is challenging for our musicians, but quite enjoyable and educational. It is a privilege for me as a conductor and teacher, and for our students, to offer a premiere performance of a student's composition, especially when the music is so well crafted and a delight to hear."
In addition to Yamada’s work, the band will play Mark Camphouse’s “Symphonic Fanfare,” a lively opening piece; John Philip Sousa’s “The Glory of the Yankee Navy,” a spirited march by the legendary composer; Richard Wagner’s “The Invocation of Alberich,” an inspiring tribute to the heroic dwarf from “Ring of the Nibelung;” and Clare Grundman’s arrangement of Leonard Berstein’s classic “Candide Suite.” As always, the Music of Scotland, featuring Wooster’s pipers, dancers, and drummers, and “Amazing Grace” will also be part of the program.
Admission is free and open to the public. Additional information is available by phone (330-263-2419) or e-mail.
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
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