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From the Podium...

Winter Concert

For this season's Winter Concert, our theme, "Gee Whiz," is recognition of the fact that the last name of all the composers on the program begin with the letter "G." We will feature works by George Gershwin, all of which are justly popular, plus a world premiere of a work by Jim Goodwin for French horn and orchestra. I am excited about our soloists, whom I introduce below. This free concert will be at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 12, 2017, at Drake's Performing Arts Hall in the Harmon Fine Arts Center.

You are cordially invited to the pre-concert talk that I will be offering as the music director/conductor of the orchestra. The talk will take place in Monroe Hall on the lower level at 1:00 p.m. and will last about forty minutes, allowing time for all of us to get in position for the concert.

Six of our selections will be songs by Gershwin. Our vocalist for these pieces will be Tina Haase Findlay, one of the finest jazz artists in Iowa. Joining the orchestra for these selections will be Bruce Martin, one of the finest jazz pianists in Iowa. Both of these talented artists were inducted into the Iowa Jazz Hall of Fame in the same ceremony last October.

Joy Lucas is a member of our French horn section. Her father is Jim Goodwin, conductor of the Iowa Veterans Band. He has written a fine piece, Episodes for Horn and Orchestra to feature Joy. As a matter of courtesy (and because I know I would want to do so were I in his position), Jim will guest conduct his composition with his daughter as soloist. This will be a very meaningful occasion and one of genuine musical value.

The orchestra is proud to present as its central selection, which will take up the second half of our performance, the Piano Concerto in F by Gershwin. This piece will feature Aaron Bartz, who has played in our percussion section and is an excellent pianist.

I am certain that you will find much for all ages to enjoy on this concert; and the orchestra looks forward to presenting it. We do appreciate your support and we hope that you will be able to attend both the concert and the talk beforehand.

As always, we offer to anyone attending our dress rehearsal (9:30 a.m. to noon on Sat., Feb. 11th, in the Performing Arts Hall) the unique opportunity of sitting onstage among the orchestra members. This is informal, for all ages, and free!


Carl B. Johnson, Music Director and Conductor