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Lander Wind Ensemble Readies for First Show

Matt Miller, who has played with the Lander University Wind Ensemble for five years, says that his instrument of choice, the clarinet, has "a great range of possibilities."

Expect "a lot of loud playing" when the Lander University Wind Ensemble takes the stage for its first concert of the season on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

"I wanted something on the festive side for this program," said assistant professor of music Dr. Reed Gallo, who directs the ensemble.

The sound Gallo is striving for will be immediately apparent in the opener, "Fanfare and Flourishes," by American composer James Curnow.

The ensemble will also play a challenging selection from "Symphony in B flat," by German composer Paul Hindemith; "Sky is Waiting," by American composer Samuel Hazo; "Ponte Romano," by Belgian composer Jan Van der Roost; "Fanfare from 'La Peri,'" by French composer Paul Dukas; and American composer Robert W. Smith's "Inchon," which Gallo describes as alternately "furious" and "very quiet, almost eerie."

The Australian-born composer Percy Grainger is one of Gallo's personal favorites, and the program will close with Grainger's "Molly on the Shore."

Gallo said the wind ensemble "just keeps getting better," and musicians like principal clarinet player Matt Miller are a leading reason why. A senior music major from Greenwood, Miller has been playing clarinet for the wind ensemble since he was a sophomore in high school. Gallo, the third director under whom Miller has worked, describes him as "someone we can rely on to play anything we give him to play."

Miller, who has played clarinet since he was in the sixth grade, has performed with the Lander University Jazz Ensemble and University Singers as well as Gallo's group, and also plays piano for his church.

One of the highlights of his career, he said, was playing with the South Carolina Collegiate Honor Band in Charleston earlier this year. It was, he said, "about the most difficult music I've ever played. It was amazing to see all the players come together" and put on a concert, only two days later.

Miller, who would like to pursue a career in arts administration, said that playing with the wind ensemble has "been a great learning experience." He concurs with Gallo that the group has improved and says, "we're actually at our best now."

The ensemble's first performance of the year, scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. in the Josephine B. Abney Cultural Center Auditorium, is free and open to the public.