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USU Alumni Band 2019: Back on the Quad and Better Than Ever

The Utah State University Alumni Band returns to the Quad Sunday, June 23, at 7 p.m. with the season’s opening concert, Jazz on Your Mind.

The Alumni Band is comprised of more than 300 Caine College of the Arts (CCA) alumni who have continued to perform since graduation. Each concert consists of 45-60 musicians, all of whom donate their talents and only have a single rehearsal on the day of the performance to prepare. The personnel changes for each concert depend on musical needs and schedules of band members.

The band is led by music director Nicholas Morrison, senior associate dean and professor of clarinet in the CCA.

This concert features special guest, Abigail Bennion Erickson, 2019 CCA valedictorian, and a special intermission performance by USU’s faculty jazz combo, Aggie Music Project.

Bennion Erickson earned a bachelor’s in music education and participated in many of the music ensembles, including USU Wind Orchestra, USU Symphony Orchestra, Caine Brass Quintet, Caine Woodwind Quintet, USU Basketball Pep Band and Aggie Marching Band. She served her peers as section leader, drum major and student director in these groups, as well as co-president for the USU collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Education.

Bennion Erickson is currently the director of bands at Alice C. Harris Intermediate School and Bear River Middle School in Tremonton, where she also teaches 6th-9th grade band.   

Aggie Music Project makes this special appearance with the band to celebrate their upcoming performance with the students of the USU Jazz Orchestra at the Montreux Festival in Switzerland.

“The Montreux Festival is one of the most prestigious summer jazz venues in the world,” Morrison said. “This invitation demonstrates the quality and reputation of the jazz program in the USU Music Department.”

Sunday’s concert opens with Strike up the Band, the classic opener of the last 25 seasons, but with a new, updated arrangement by professor emeritus Larry Smith, Morrison noted.

Next, Bennion will perform Mozart’s Allegro from Concerto No. 3 in E-flat with the band, conducted by Dr. Thomas P. Rohrer.

Following intermission is a special arrangement, Legends of Jazz, featuring the music of Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington, conducted by Lane Weaver. Weaver is director of athletic bands and associate director of the Alumni Band.

“Bring a picnic and a lounge chair and enjoy the first concert of the season,” Morrison said. “What better music for a summer evening on the quad?”

The second half of the concert continues with Finale from Symphony No. 9 by Dvorak; An Evening with Jerome Kern; His Honor March and concludes with the band’s traditional rendition of I’ll See You Again.

This year’s Alumni Band concerts will be held on June 23, July 7, 14, 21 and August 4. The June 23, July 14 and 21 concerts are on the USU Quad. The July 7 and August 4 concerts are in the Daines Concert Hall in the Chase Fine Arts Center on USU’s campus. Performances begin at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

For more information, go online to cca.usu.edu

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