The Salem Concert Band, under the direction of conductor John Skelton, will conclude its 42nd season by presenting a Pacific Premiere on May 21 at 3 PM at Hudson Hall, Willamette University. Come hear the Salem Concert Band perform a new piece of music commissioned by the band by renowned composer Eric Ewazen. Eric Ewazen has composed numerous pieces for orchestra and concert band and teaches at the Julliard School in New York.

The band performed Ewazen’s work Shadowcatcher with the Oregon Brass a few seasons ago. The band (and the audience) were moved by this lyrical piece. In preparing the work, conductor John Skelton conversed with Ewazen and learned of his love of Oregon. Ewazen lamented that he would love to write a piece about the state. This simple comment started a years-long dialogue resulting in “AN OREGON JOURNEY (Through Showers, Sunlight, Snow and Showers).

Dr. Ewazen described his inspiration and composition:

“I’ve based this piece on my very first visit to the West Coast in 1992, when I was visiting an old friend from where I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. We took a one day trip from Eugene all the way up to Seattle, where I was having the premier performance of my Saxophone concerto. The trip commenced in Eugene with a tremendous rain shower amid the lush vegetation and towering trees — continuing northeast right into almost a desert-like environment with pure blue sunlit skies without a single cloud – pure blue, and up north on top of Mt. Hood in a snowstorm, and further up through Portland, where we were back in the middle of a drenching shower, before we ended up in Seattle. All in the same day! The beauty of the various places and the sheer variety of scenery and weather all experienced during the same day is the inspiration for the music!

The work is in one movement divided into the three distinct sections plus a coda, depicting the sparkly, yet drenching showers amid the trees in the heart of Eugene, the quiet calm, and brilliant primary colors of the sun drenched desert-like landscape of eastern Oregon and the beautiful grandeur of towering Mt. Hood covered in a fresh layer of snow ending up in Portland with the same sparkly showers that began the piece (and the day)!”

Don’t miss the world premiere of this new composition and meet Dr. Ewazen who will also be attending the concert and conducting masters classes in the area.

In addition, the band will be performing four movements from Celestial Dancers by Dr. Ewazen, Resplendent Glory by Rossano Galante, and Riften Wed by Julie Giroux. (Also, don’t be too surprised if something surprising happens at our performance. We can’t tell you what it is — that would spoil the surprise!)

Pacific Premiere is supported by a generous grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust. The Salem Concert Band receives support from the Oregon Arts Commission, a state agency funded by the State of Oregon.