2024 Spring Concert Richland county high school bands

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Welcome to the Richland County High School 2024 featuring the Honors Wind Chamber Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Jazz Combo, Trombone Quintet, and the Percussion Ensemble.
At this time, we ask that you place your phone on silent mode to prevent any distractions during tonight's performance.

In an effort to "go green", allow for more content, and to cut back on the cost for Richland County High School to print programs, the RCHS Bands concert program is digital. However, we know that many families would still prefer a paper copy of the program as a memento. If you would like a paper copy of tonight's concert program please fill out the form found within the link below. A paper copy will be mailed to your house within a week. https://forms.gle/JT1y2pyLR1JwuCaa9


This marvelous work is a moving tribute to an earlier time, when our rivers and other waterways were the lifelines of our growing nation. Featuring Down The River; Shenandoah (Across The Wide Missouri); The Glendy Burk and a delightful Creole bamboula tune.Commissioned and dedicated to the 1988-89 Oberlin High School Band, Stephen Johnson III, director, Oberlin, Ohio.

Pierre La Plante was born on 25 September 1943 in West Allis, Wisconsin. He is an American composer of French-Canadian descent. Mr. La Plante grew up in Sturgean Bay, Wisconsin. He received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he was a composition student of James Christensen. La Plante plays bassoon with the Beloit-Janesville Symphony Orchestra. He recently retired after teaching general music and beginning band at Pecatonica Elementary School in Blanchardsville, Wisconsin, for 25 years.

La Plante has adjudicated for solo and ensemble contests and played bassoon in regional orchestras, including the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra and the Beloit-Janesville Symphony. He is currently a member of MENC, ASCAP, Wisconsin Music Educators Conference, Wisconsin Youth Band Directors Association, as well as the Madison Wind ensemble. He resides in Oregon, Wisconsin.

SOURCE: The Wind Repertory Project (https://www.windrep.org)


From the composers of You Raise Me Up, this tender ballad is filled with a range of emotions in the form of a lullaby from a parent to a grown child embarking on a life all their own. Michael Sweeney retains the soothing beauty of the original melody while exploring a rich variety of textures and moods, giving full expression to the feelings that inspired the lyric. - Program Note from publisher

Michael Sweeney was born on 10 September 1952 in Hillsboro, Ore. He is an ASCAP award-winning American composer and musician.

Mr. Sweeney studied music education and composition at Indiana University in Bloomington, and taught five years in public schools of Ohio and Indiana, where he taught many concert, jazz and marching programs (including three years with the respected Greenwood High School Marching Woodmen) for students from elementary to high school.

Since 1982, Mr. Sweeney has worked full time for Hal Leonard Corporation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is currently Director of Band Publications. In addition, he contributes as a composer and arranger in all instrumental areas. Sweeney is particularly known for his writing at the younger levels for concert and jazz bands, and has over 500 publications to his credit. His works appear on numerous state contest lists and his music is regularly performed around the world. An ASCAP award-winning composer, his Ancient Voices (1994) and Imperium (1992) are analyzed in music education texts from GIA Publications.

Sweeney is also on high demand as a clinician and conductor for honor bands and music festivals.

SOURCE: The Wind Repertory Project (https://www.windrep.org)


This captivating musical celebration portrays the strong energy of all life in a jungle. The piece cleverly uses a melody that never changes throughout the entire work — rather, all the surrounding harmonies and textures constantly evolve as the music develops. Ultimately, the melody is layered on top of itself numerous times along with the countermelodies that have been heard throughout the work. A large battery of percussion completes the orchestration. - Program Note from publisher

Brian Balmages was born on 24 January 1975, Baltimore, Md. He is an active composer, conductor, producer, and performer.

Mr. Balmages received his bachelor's degree in music industry from James Madison University and his masters in media writing and production from the University of Miami.

His fresh compositional ideas have been heralded by many performers and directors, resulting in a high demand of his works for winds, brass, and orchestra. He received his Bachelor’s of Music from James Madison University and his master’s degree from the University of Miami in Florida. Mr. Balmages studied trumpet with James Kluesner, Don Tison, and Gilbert Johnson.

Mr. Balmages’ compositions have been performed worldwide at conferences including the College Band Directors National and Regional Conferences, the Midwest Clinic, the International Tuba/Euphonium Conference, the International Trombone Festival, and the International Trumpet Guild Conference. His active schedule of commissions and premieres has incorporated groups ranging from elementary schools to professional ensembles, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Miami Symphony Orchestra, the University of Miami Wind Ensemble, and the Dominion Brass Ensemble. Among the professional artists that have commissioned him are James Jenkins, Principal Tuba of the Jacksonville Symphony; Lynn Klock, Saxophone Performing Artist for Selmer; Arthur Campbell, Clarinet Performing Artist for Leblanc; and Jerry Peel, professor of horn at the University of Miami. He has also had world premieres in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall along with numerous performances abroad.

As a conductor, Mr. Balmages enjoys engagements with numerous honor bands, university groups, and professional ensembles throughout the country. Guest conducting appearances have included the Midwest Clinic, College Band Directors National Conference, Mid-Atlantic Wind Conductors Conference, and the Atlantic Classical Orchestra Brass Ensemble.

Currently, he is Director of Instrumental Publications for The FJH Music Company Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he oversees all aspects of the instrumental program related to works for concert band, jazz ensemble, and orchestra. Balmages joined Alfred Music as director of digital education and MakeMusic Publications in 2022.

He is also a freelance musician and has performed with the Miami Symphony Orchestra, the Florida Chamber Orchestra, Skyline Brass, and the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra.

SOURCE: The Wind Repertory Project (https://www.windrep.org)


The melody of this beloved and well known American mountain ballad may have first appeared in Ireland, as an Irish waltz tune, in the mid-1850s before finding its way with settlers to the Eastern United States. Lead Belly and Burl Ives (a Jasper County, IL native) are among many who have recorded their own versions of this familiar song, which is also known as "Birmingham Jail," "Bird in a Cage," and "Down on the Levee."

It has been sun as a courting sound, a lullaby, and a love song-as in this lyric from a heartsick convict, "Write me a letter, send it by mail, Send it in care of the Birmingham Jail." The more familiar version is as follows, "Down in the valley, the valley so low. Hang your head over, hear the wind blow. Roses love sunshine, violets love dew. Angels in heaven, know I love you." - Program Note from publisher

[See program notes for American Riversongs for the composer's biography.]


Critical mass is a scientific term that refers to the smallest amount of fissile material needed to sustain a nuclear chain reaction. The work begins with an explosion of sound, then launches forward through small, ever-growing melodic fragments that expand outward and upward. - Program Note from score

Todd Stalter (b. 1966) is a American composer and conductor. Mr. Stalter received his Bachelor of Music Education degree (cum laude) and Master of Music in trumpet performance from Illinois State University, where he studied trumpet with Richard Lehman (solo cornet of "The President's Own" United States Marine Band) and Dr. James Buckner, and conducting with Dr. Stephen K. Steele. He has served as a conducting assistant for such luminaries as Robert W. Smith, Gary Green, Larry Gookin, Marguerite Wilder, Randy Vaughan, Cody Birdwell, and Richard Floyd at the Music for All Summer Symposium.

Mr. Stalter is currently the director of bands at Eureka High School in Eureka, Ill., and serves as chair of the Department of Fine Arts for CUSD #140. At Eureka, he directs all components of the high school band program in addition to teaching general music grades K-4, and 5th and 6th grade brass and percussion lessons and technique classes. Mr. Stalter’s concert bands have consistently earned Superior ratings at Illinois High School Association contests, and his marching bands have won the Illinois Class 1-A state championship 2000–2006 and 2008–2010, most recently performing his original suites for marching band Red Shift, Geometries, and …in motion…. He has also been active as a church musician, recently retiring as principal trumpet and arranger for the Grace Brass at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Ill. after nearly 30 years of service.

Recent compositions by Mr. Stalter have been performed at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, the Illinois and Kansas Music Educator's All-State Festivals, the Iowa Bandmasters Convention, the University of Georgia “Mid-Fest,” the Blue Lake and Interlochen Fine Arts Camps, and by the Prairie Wind Ensemble. International performances of his music include Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Greece, France, Germany, and Australia. Mr. Stalter maintains an active schedule as a clinician, guest conductor, and adjudicator.

Awards for Mr. Stalter’s music include five ASCAPlus awards for excellence in music composition. Many of his works appear on national and international contest and festival lists, and his work Poème was selected for inclusion in Volume 7 of Teaching Music through Performance in Band, an educational reference series published by GIA.

SOURCE: The Wind Repertory Project (https://www.windrep.org)


On February 3, 1943, The S.S. Dorchester, an American troop transport vessel, sank in the icy waters off the coast of Greenland, the victim of a German U-boat. Of the 904 men aboard, 605 were lost. Among those who perished were four Army chaplains, each of a different faith, each called to the same duty.

The testimony of the survivors tells the story best; “As overcrowded lifeboats capsized, as rafts drifted away empty and men milled around on deck on the ragged edge of panic, the only fragment of hope came from these four men… and when the life jackets were gone, they gave away their own.”

As the survivors swam away, they remember the chaplains standing – their arms linked-braced against the slanting deck. They were praying; words of prayer in Latin, Hebrew, and English, addressed to the same God.

The Light Eternal, based on the well-known hymn God of Our Fathers, is a reflective work that musically recounts this magnificent story. Commissioned by the Orrville High School Concert Band, Rob Hennell and Dave Tibbitts, directors, the premiere performance took place on May 19, 1991, at the University of Akron Wayne College in Orrville, Ohio.

It should be noted that the 50th anniversary of the story of The Four Chaplains was commemorated on February 3, 1993. A complete reprint of this moving story was printed in the June 1989 Reader’s Digest. - Program Note from score

James Swearingen, born 26 September 1947, Dayton, Ohio, is an American composer, arranger and conductor. Mr. Swearingen passed away on November 23, 2014.

James Swearingen's talents as a performer, composer/arranger and educator include a background of extensive training and experience. He has earned degrees from Bowling Green State University and The Ohio State University. Mr. Swearingen is an emeritus professor of music, department chair of music education, and one of several resident composers at Capital University located in Columbus, Ohio. He also serves as a staff arranger for the famed Ohio State University Marching Band. Prior to his appointment at Capital in 1987, he spent eighteen years teaching instrumental music in the public schools of central Ohio. His first teaching assignment took him to the community of Sunbury, Ohio. He then spent fourteen years as Director of Instrumental Music at Grove City High School where his marching, concert and jazz bands all received acclaim for their high standards of performing excellence.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Mr. Swearingen manages to be very active as a guest conductor, adjudicator and educational clinician. Appearances have included trips throughout the United States, as well as Japan, Australia, Europe, Canada and The Republic of China.

With over 450 published works, Swearingen has written band compositions and arrangements that reflect a variety of musical forms and styles. Many of his pieces, including 81 commissioned works, have been chosen for contest and festival lists. He is a recipient of several ASCAP awards for published compositions and in 1992 was selected as an Accomplished Graduate of the Fine and Performing Arts from Bowling Green State University. In March of 2000, he was invited to join The American Bandmasters Association, considered to be the most prestigious bandmaster organization in the world. Mr. Swearingen received the 2002 Community Music Educator Award given annually by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. In that same year, he became conductor of the Grove City Community Winds. This highly talented ensemble consists of many fine musicians from the central Ohio area. He is a member of numerous professional and honorary organizations including OMEA, MENC, ASBDA, Phi Beta Mu and Pi Kappa Lambda. Many of Mr. Swearingen's most popular band compositions have been recorded by the prestigious Washington Winds

SOURCE: The Wind Repertory Project (https://www.windrep.org)


Written in 1923 for the following year’s Wembley Exhibition, Sea Songs is a march medley of three well-known sea shanties: Princess Royal, Admiral Benbow, and Portsmouth. Written in typical march form with a trio, it was published simultaneously for brass band and wind band, and was later transcribed by the composer for symphony orchestra. It should be noted that Sea Songs was originally intended to be the final movement of Vaughan Williams’s Folk Song Suite. - Program Note by Nikk Pilato

Ralph Vaughan Williams OM (12 October 1872, Down Ampney, Gloucestershire – 26 August 1958, London) was an English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He was also a collector of English folk music and song: this activity both influenced his editorial approach to the English Hymnal, beginning in 1904, in which he included many folk song arrangements set as hymn tunes, and also influenced several of his own original compositions.

Vaughan Williams spent most of his life in London. He studied the viola, piano and organ, and he wanted to compose, but his family discouraged him from an orchestral career. He graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, and studied composition at the Royal College of Music, as well as organ and piano with several teachers, Although he also studied abroad with Max Bruch and Maurice Ravel, his style remained individual and English. He was appointed organist at Lambeth, and his interest in English folk music dates from his stay there. He became good friends with Gustav Holst, and they often shared their works in progress with each other. His work on the English Hymnal greatly influenced his musical career.

He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in France during World War I. From the 1920s onward, he was in increasing demand as a composer and conductor. He composed simple pieces and grand orchestral works and is considered the outstanding composer of his generation in England. According to Hubert J. Foss in The Heritage of Music, “In Vaughan Williams we hear the historic speech of the English people. What he gives us in music is the language of the breakfast table. It is also the language that Shakespeare wrote.”

SOURCE: The Wind Repertory Project (https://www.windrep.org)


The concept of this piece began with Jonathan Hills and Lauren Collister, two trombonists who met while playing in a community band in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Over time, they eventually got engaged and wanted to commission a piece of music to celebrate. The title, Gateways, is symbolic of how we often walk through gateways in life that take us from one stage of life to the next. The piece is obviously special to Jon and Lauren as they have passed through their own gateway. They are very excited to be able to share this with the rest of the world now, in hopes that it will help countless others begin the journey through their own gateways. - Program Note adapted from composer

[See program notes for Jungle Dance for the composer's biography.]

SOURCE: The Wind Repertory Project (https://www.windrep.org)


John Philip Sousa (6 November 1854, Washington, D.C. – 6 March 1932, Reading, Pennsylvania) was America's best known composer and conductor during his lifetime.

Sousa was born the third of 10 children of John Antonio Sousa (born in Spain of Portuguese parents) and Maria Elisabeth Trinkhaus (born in Bavaria). John Philip's father, Antonio, played trombone in the U.S. Marine band, so young John grew up around military band music. Sousa started his music education, playing the violin, as a pupil of John Esputa and G. F. Benkert for harmony and musical composition at the age of six. He was found to have absolute pitch. When Sousa reached the age of 13, his father, a trombonist in the Marine Band, enlisted his son in the United States Marine Corps as an apprentice. Sousa served his apprenticeship for seven years, until 1875, and apparently learned to play all the wind instruments while also continuing with the violin.

Several years later, Sousa left his apprenticeship to join a theatrical (pit) orchestra where he learned to conduct. He returned to the U.S. Marine Band as its head in 1880, and remained as its conductor until 1892. He organized his own band the year he left the Marine Band. The Sousa Band toured 1892-1931, performing 15,623 concerts. In 1900, his band represented the United States at the Paris Exposition before touring Europe. In Paris, the Sousa Band marched through the streets including the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe – one of only eight parades the band marched in over its forty years.

Sousa wrote 136 marches. He also wrote school songs for several American Universities, including Kansas State University, Marquette University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Minnesota. Sousa died at the age of 77 on March 6th, 1932 after conducting a rehearsal of the Ringgold Band in Reading, Pennsylvania. The last piece he conducted was The Stars and Stripes Forever.

Sousa consistently stated that this march was divinely inspired and was born of homesickness. In his autobiography, Marching Along, he provides the details of its creation after he had received a cablegram in Italy that his manager, David Blakely, had died:

“Aboard the Teutonic, as it steamed out of the harbor on my return from Europe in 1896, came one of the most vivid incidents of my career. As I paced the deck, absorbed in thought, suddenly I began to sense the rhythmic beat of a band playing within my brain. It kept on ceaselessly, playing, playing, playing. Throughout the whole tense voyage, that imaginary band continued to unfold the same themes, echoing and reechoing the most distinct melody. I did not transfer a note of that music to paper while I was on the steamer, but when we reached the shore, I set down the measures that my brain-band had been playing for me, and not a note of it has ever changed. The composition is known the world over as The Stars and Stripes Forever and is probably my most popular march.” (By permission of John Philip Sousa, Inc., New York City)

Paul Bierley states that The Stars and Stripes Forever is “by far the most popular march ever written, and its popularity is by no means limited to the United States.” A ten-year international march popularity survey confirms Bierley’s statement. The universal appeal of Sousa’s march is illustrated by an article in The New York Times by Harold Schonberg which tells of a tour to China by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1973. After sitting politely but stonily through a program which ranged from Beethoven to Copland, the orchestra struck up The Stars and Stripes. “All of a sudden electricity permeated the hall. Faces broke into smiles; feet began tapping; there was a general air of understanding and happiness. Maybe,... (it) really is the greatest piece of music ever written by an American. In any case, it has made more friends for America than any other piece of music...” - Program Note from Program Notes for Band


Two students from Richland County High School shall participate in the 2024 Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) All-State All-State Ensembles. ILMEA will host the event on January 24-27, 2024 in Peoria.

These students were selected from a rigorous audition process as the top student-musicians representing over 12,000 schools throughout Illinois. Of roughly 2,400 students that auditioned, only a fraction of students were selected to participate in the event. The two RCHS students selected to participate were Emma Wells (senior/band), & Aidan Gomez (senior/jazz band).

Congratulations to those that were inducted into the Richland County High School Tri-M Honor Music Society, Chapter 8170

The members of the 2023-2024 Tri-M Honor Music Society include the following...

ROW 1: Conner Akers, James Benton, Callista Ridgely, Riley Harrolle (vice president), Addison Ridgely, Carly Houchin, Molly Fehrenbacher, River Logan, and Cally Smith

ROW 2: Mr. Weitkamp (sponsor), Ethan Zuber (historian), Jereme Higginbotham, Sean Joyce (treasurer), Isaac Zwilling, James Wyatt Baker, Aidan Gomez (secretary), Emma Wells (president), and Mr. Jones (sponsor)

ABSENT: Lilla Balding

Tri-M Music Honor Society, formerly known as Modern Music Masters, is a high school and middle school music honor society and is a program of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). It is designed to recognize students for their academic and musical achievements and to provide leadership and service opportunities to young musicians. Each school has its own chapter, which is run by the student but supervised by an advisor or sponsor, usually a school teacher. There are approximately 6,200 participating chapters in several countries.

For more information pertaining to Tri-M Music Honor Society, visit https://www.rchsbands.net/tri-m-chapter-8170.html.