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Civic Winds celebrates Harry Potter

Southwest Civic Winds’ brass section rehearses ahead of Friday night’s performance. (Courtesy of Paul Boyer)
Fall concert combines mystery and magic Friday night

You can go online and listen to all kinds of tributes to America’s most award-winning composer John Williams. Last Feb. 8, he turned 90. On YouTube, you can hear varieties of The Best of John Williams or gala performances by major orchestras in Los Angeles, Vienna, Paris or Prague.

Or, you can find your way to our Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College tonight and hear a live performance of one of Williams’ masterworks: The complete Harry Potter film score.

Jared Wright (Courtesy of Paul Boyer)

At 7 p.m., the Southwest Civic Winds will wrap up an imaginative concert with the Harry Potter universe. The big, seven-film compilation has been arranged for symphonic wind ensemble by Jerry Brubaker. Williams composed the scores for the first three films, “The Sorcerer’s Stone,” “The Chamber of Secrets” and “The Prisoner of Azkaban.” Peter Doyle, Nicholas Hooper and Alexandre Desplat composed for the remaining films: “The Goblet of Fire,” The Order of the Phoenix,” “The Half-Blood Prince” and “The Deathly Hallows, Part I and II.”

“It will be our big finale,” Jared Wright said in a recent interview. As assistant artistic director of the Winds, Wright will take the helm for the final concert of the ensemble’s 10th anniversary year.

“Over the years we’ve spent so much time on John Philip Sousa,” he said. “On occasion, it’s nice to get in some popular music, especially the music of John Williams. He won’t always be around, so why not now? We want our programs to be family friendly, music of the last 25 years. And, it’s one thing to see a movie and hear great film music, it’s another to hear it in a concert hall.”

Titled “Mystery and Magic,” the concert opens with “a big, bright and brassy call to action,” Wright said. “Steven Reineke’s ‘Rise of the Firebird’ has a bold beginning, a middle section that’s flowing and beautiful, then the theme of death and rebirth is just right for the upcoming holidays.”

If you go

WHAT: “Magic & Mystery,” a concert by Southwest Civic Winds, conducted by Jared Wright.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday (Nov. 18).

WHERE: Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, 1000 Rim Drive.

TICKETS: $20.Available online at www.durangoconcerts.com or by phone, 247-7567.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.southwestcivicwinds.org.

A sense of mystery streams through the rest of the concert, Wright said.

“’O Magnum Mysterium’ is very slow and reminiscent of the darkness of winter,” he said. “Then we’ll play Robert Foster’s take on music from the ninth century, the ‘Emmanuel Variants.’ The tune predates music by Bach, so we’re playing ancient music as well as contemporary.”

Sousa’s march, “Nobles of the Mystic Shrine,” sits in the middle of the program. But this Sousa may surprise the audience, Wright said.

“It paints a picture not associated with a charity organization, but rather sounds like a group of Shriners ready to rob a bank,” he said. “It’s a really fun work – mischief in the making.”

Frank Tichell’s “Abracadabra” and Julie Giroux’s “One Life Beautiful” immediately precede the Harry Potter finale.

It’s been a dozen years since the ensemble was co-founded by Ruth Katzin of Katzin Music and Mark Walters, former professor of music at FLC. Katzin continues to play flute in the group, Walters has experienced some medical setbacks in recent years and has passed the baton to others. From 2020 to this year, Rhonda Muckerman, served as director with Wright as assistant. He is also the artistic director of the Civic Winds Jazz Orchestra. A much in demand trumpet player, Wright performs regularly with a number of Four Corners jazz ensembles, teaches and is choir director for Christ the King Lutheran Church.

“When I was a music student at FLC, I studied conducting with Mark,” Wright said. “He has an encyclopedic knowledge of music, and as a conductor, he had giant shoes for anyone to fill. His sense of camaraderie with the musicians was always apparent.”

The Southwest Civic Winds continues the American tradition of community bands by including professional musicians, music teachers, amateurs who love to play and “retreads,” music lovers who played instruments in high school or through college and want to continue after retirement. Standards are high and auditions mandatory. Consult the website for a thorough set of guidelines: www.SouthwestCivicWinds.org.

Judith Reynolds is an arts journalist and member of the American Theatre Critics Association.