The University Of Central Arkansas Wind Ensemble Returns To Legendary Carnegie Hall, 4/23

The University Of Central Arkansas Wind Ensemble Returns To Legendary Carnegie Hall, 4/23The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) Wind Ensemble from Conway, Arkansas, will make its second appearance at Carnegie Hall on Monday, April 23 at 8 pm as part of MidAmerica Productions' 35th annual concert season.

Under the conducting baton of their Music Director Ricky Brooks, the University of Central Arkansas Wind Ensemble will perform:

  • CHARLES L. BOOKER: Centra-fuge

  • BOLCOM: TROMBONE CONCERTO (Movements: Blues & Charade)

  • ARTURO MÁRQUEZ: Danzón No. 2, trans. Oliver Nickel

  • BERNSTEIN: Slava! trans. Clare Grundman

"We first performed in Carnegie Hall in 2003, and Mr. Joe Alessi, principal trombonist with the New York Philharmonic, was our guest soloist," recalls Mr. Brooks. "When we found out we were going to perform again in 2018, we asked Joe if he would like to make a return appearance with us. He was delighted, and we even had him on our campus this past January for a few days as artist-in-residence. He rehearsed with the wind ensemble, and conducted and performed with the trombone ensemble. Joe and the students had a great time interacting and getting to know each other. That makes our performance with him at Carnegie Hall on April 23 even more personal."

Regarding the UCA Wind Ensemble's choice of repertoire, Mr. Brooks said, "We have selected a fun program for the audience, and one that features some of our students as soloists. We will open with Centra-fuge by Charles Booker. It is a high-energy homage to jazz musicians Hank Levy and Don Ellis, friends of Mr. Booker while he was staff arranger and composer for the Airmen of Note, the premiere USAF jazz band. The UCA Wind Ensemble commissioned Mr. Booker to write a piece for the 100th anniversary of the university in 2007. At the time, the moniker of the university was "UCA - the Center of Learning," so Mr. Booker titled his new work Centra-fuge.

"We will feature Mr. Alessi on Trombone Concerto by William Bolcom," Mr. Brooks continued. "The band version was finished just this year, and our performance at Carnegie will be the second performance of the band version; the first was the premiere last November. Danzon No. 2 by Arturo Marquez, is a lot of fun for the band and audience, and features some of our students. We wanted a special tune to end the program which had some tie or reference to New York. The students chose to end our concert with Leonard Bernstein's Slava!.

"We're excited to perform in Carnegie Hall, and are looking forward to several days in New York," added Mr. Brooks. "Performing in a world-class venue is a remarkable opportunity for students and directors. As our music department is becoming an All-Steinway department, the UCA Foundation Office has created a shadow trip to New York for parents, university administrators, board of trustees, and patrons of the Steinway project. They will attend our concert, tour the Steinway plant, and have other activities in New York."

Sharing the Playbill with UCA

The April 23 concert at Carnegie Hall will also feature the 98-member Shorewood High School String Symphony Orchestra of Shoreline, Washington. Under the baton of their Music Director Daniel M. Wing, a former Principal Violist for several European and American orchestras, they will perform:

  • SHOSTAKOVICH: Spanish Dance

  • GRAINGER: Irish Tune from County Derry

  • CORELLI: Concerto grosso in D major, Op. 6, No. 4

  • HOLST: St. Paul's Suite

Austin, Texas' multi-award winning world music ensemble, Atash, and the St. Stephen's Global Ensemble under the conducting baton of John Moon, will perform the following works with lyrics by Mohammad Firoozi:

  • Thunder and Lightning

  • Baaraan (Rain)

  • Song for Leili

  • Destiny

Participating Ensembles:

  • St. Stephen's Episcopal School's Thunder Drums, Austin, TX (Trevor Detling, Director)

  • St. Stephen's Episcopal School's Global Orchestra, Austin, TX (John Moon, Director)

  • Atash, Austin, TX (Roberto Paolo Riggio, Music Director)

Purchase Tickets

Concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium/Ronald O. Perelman Stage are $150, $100, and $50. Tickets may be obtained by contacting CarnegieCharge at 212-247.7800, visiting the Carnegie Hall Box Office at 57th Street and 7th Avenue in New York, NY, or by going online to For more information, contact

UCA Wind Ensemble

The University of Central Arkansas Band was founded and offered as credit in the 1914 Arkansas Normal School undergraduate bulletin. From 1958 to present, the UCA Band has experienced only three directors - Mr. Homer Brown (1958-79), Mr. Russell Langston (1979-1995), and Dr. Ricky Brooks (1995-present). During this 60-year span, the UCA Wind Ensemble has performed for numerous state, regional and national music conventions, the International Wind Band Festival in Vienna and Salzburg, Austria, and the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Texas.

In 2018, the UCA Wind Ensemble has hosted internationally known composer Frank Ticheli as composer-in-residence (March 14 -16) and Joe Alessi, principal trombonist for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, as guest artist (January 29 - 31). They have also commissioned new works for wind band from composers such as David Gillingham, Will Pitt, Charles Booker and Paul Dickinson.

The UCA Wind Ensemble performed in Carnegie Hall in 2003, and celebrates 104 years with a return on April 23, 2018, with Mr. Alessi once again as their soloist.

Dr. Ricky Brooks is Director of Bands at the University of Central Arkansas, Director of the Dixie/UCA Summer Band Camps, and the Conway Community Band. He holds the BME and MME from Delta State University, and the Ph.D. in Music Education from Louisiana State University. Prior to UCA, Dr. Brooks taught at Murray State University (Kentucky), and in the public schools of Mississippi and Arkansas.

As Director of Bands at UCA, Dr. Brooks administers the entire UCA Band Program, conducts the Wind Ensemble, assists with the marching band, and teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in conducting and wind literature.

Dr. Brooks is a member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. He is a recipient of the Arkansas Bandmaster of the Year, past-president of the Arkansas Bandmasters Association, and past president of the Arkansas chapter of the College Band Directors National Association. He is active as adjudicator and clinician throughout the South-Central United States and has had articles on music education and conducting published in professional music journals. Dr. Brooks is also Music Director at Friendship Baptist Church in Conway. His wife, Sheila, is band director at Bob Courtway Middle School in the Conway Public Schools system.

About MidAmerica Productions

Maestro Peter Tiboris created and conducted his first concert in New York on January 7, 1984, at Lincoln Center, featuring The American Symphony Orchestra, soloists, and three choruses, the Louisiana Chorale of Acadiana, Camerata Singers of Baton Rouge, and Collegiate Chorale of New York. Although he didn't realize it at the time, Mr. Tiboris had just created his own, successful, Production Company, MidAmerica Productions, which was to become the foremost independent producer of choral concerts in Carnegie Hall.

During its 35 years, MidAmerica Productions has brought together conductors, soloists, and choral and instrumental ensembles from the U.S. and abroad to appear at New York's top venues, including Stern Auditorium, Weill Recital Hall, and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall; and Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall (now David Geffen Hall) at Lincoln Center. In addition to presenting instrumental and classic choral works. MidAmerica Productions has championed the works of contemporary composers with approximately 87 World Premieres, 21 United States Premieres and 99 New York Premieres.

Additionally, MidAmerica Productions has presented concerts in numerous U.S. cities and in countries throughout the world, including Greece, England, Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Italy, France and Russia.

Related Articles

LIVE: OKLAHOMA! or KISS ME, KATE for Best Revival...

More Hot Stories For You

Before you go...

Never Miss a Story
Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram instagram