The Eastman School of Music: United States Air Force Concert Band and Singing Sergeants

March 1, 2018

More Information:
For Media Only: Jessica A. Kaufman (585-274-1057, jkaufman@esm.rochester.edu)

The Eastman School of Music is proud to host the United States Air Force Concert Band and Singing Sergeants on their Spring Tour to Kodak Hall in Eastman Theatre on Tuesday, April 10 at 7 p.m. with opening remarks by Deputy Mayor Dr. Cedric Alexander. There are several Eastman connections with this concert: an original piece, Pseudovector, composed by Assistant Professor of Music Theory Matthew Curlee included in the program; featured soloist Michael Burritt, Professor of Percussion at Eastman; four Eastman alumni; two Rochester natives; and guest conductor Mark Scatterday, Professor of Conducting and Ensembles, who will be conducting his piece La Salsa.  The program also includes several genres of music, including a Broadway medley, traditional band marches, Americana, and much more. 

“I am honored to welcome the United States Air Force Concert Band and Singing Sergeants to Rochester,” said Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “Our city is truly fortunate to be the home of the Eastman School of Music, which continues to create opportunities for our citizens to experience the nation’s highest caliber of musical talent. Events like this add to the cultural richness of Rochester, which further enhances our ability to create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods, and better educational opportunities for our citizens.”

Eastman professor Matthew Curlee was commissioned to write an original composition for the Air Force Band, featuring soloist and Eastman colleague Michael Burritt. “As a composer, writing for a soloist and an ensemble such as these, both of such legendary virtuosity, is an opportunity to put the pedal to the metal in terms of both technical possibilities and expressive range.  In our past collaborations, Michael and I have always had a great stylistic resonance.” Pseudovector was premiered on the Air Force Band’s Guest Artist Series with Michael Burritt in Alexandria, Virginia, on February 22. Matthew continues, “There’s always some trepidation the first time you work with any ensemble – you want to write something that they’ll be excited about – but knowing Mike’s particular artistic voice and being able to write so specifically for him helped the piece come together in quite a free-flowing way.”

“It is such an honor a privilege to be guest artist with the Air Force Band. I have known about the outstanding reputation of the group since I was a high school student in the New York All-State Band under the baton of Arnald Gabriel, the famous conductor of the band for many years,” shares Michael Burritt. He continues, “It’s a thrill for me to play one of my pieces, White Pines, for four percussionists and myself soloing on marimba, along with Matthew Curlee’s new piece, with such amazing musicians!  I have no doubt this concert at Eastman will be a highlight of the year for me.”

“It’s so great to finally come through this part of New York State and be back on the stage of Kodak Hall,” says Technical Sgt. Brian Wahrlich, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music. “As the Tour Manager for the Concert Band, I reached out to Eastman as a first priority and built the entire tour around this extraordinary venue. I feel so honored and humbled to bring the band to Eastman, to perform on stage as a professional clarinetist, and to continue collaborations with this world-class institution.”

Alumni in the band include Technical Sergeants (TSgt) Brian Wahrlich, clarinet (BM’06 MM’08 FS), Blakely Carroll-Rosengaft, trumpet (MM’06), Jeremy Klenke, clarinet (MM’07), and Master Sergeant Adam Green, percussion (BM ‘98). Two members are also Rochester natives who studied at Eastman Community Music School: TSgt Kris Westrich from Scottsville; and TSgt Ashley Keeks from Churchville (attending Churchville-Chili High School).

Tickets for the US Air Force Band are free, but you need to reserve your seat. You can reserve your seat online at the Eastman Theatre Box Office, 433 East Main St.; by phone (585) 274-3000; or online at http://eastmantheatre.org

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With its present home on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE BAND is the Air Force’s premier musical organization. Since its formation in 1941 as the Army Air Forces Band, the excellence demonstrated by the Band’s Airmen musicians has reflected the excellence carried out 24 hours a day by Airmen stationed around the globe. Today, The Air Force Band consists of six performing groups: Air Force Strings, Airmen of Note, Ceremonial Brass, Concert Band, Max Impact and Singing Sergeants. This premier musical unit continues to honor those who serve, inspire patriotism and military service in fellow citizens and impact the global community positively.

The United States Air Force Concert Band is the premier symphonic wind ensemble of the United States Air Force. Featuring 53 active duty Airmen musicians, the Concert Band performs throughout the United States via biannual tours, live radio, television and Internet broadcasts, as well as at local concerts across metropolitan Washington, D.C. The Singing Sergeants is the official chorus of the United States Air Force, and features 23 active duty Airmen musicians. The Singing Sergeants present more than 200 performances annually, performing a wide range of musical styles, from traditional Americana, opera, and choral standards to modern Broadway and jazz.

The Concert Band and Singing Sergeants perform together on a regular basis, representing the U.S. Air Force and our country as part of The United States Air Force Band. They frequently perform for national television broadcasts and online videos, including the Band’s annual holiday flash mobs, which have been viewed by millions worldwide. Whether these groups are performing in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, throughout our great country, or around the world, they are proud to represent all Airmen, whose selfless service and sacrifice ensure the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the United States of America.

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About Eastman School of Music:

The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training. The current dean is Jamal Rossi, appointed in 2014.

About 900 students are enrolled in Eastman’s Collegiate Division—about 500 undergraduate and 400 graduate students. Students come from almost every state, and approximately 20 percent are from other countries. They are guided by more than 95 full-time faculty members. Six alumni and three faculty members have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music, as have numerous GRAMMYÒ Awards. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 700 concerts to the Rochester community.