COMPOSITIONS ON AN AMERICAN THEME
The late American composer Howard Hanson has attracted and maintained a good following on the basis of the rich sound and romantic lyricism of his music. He has also become something of a folk hero to a smaller group of folks amused by the fact that Hanson was born in the wild-West-sounding town of Wahoo, Neb. In fact, he was born there on Oct. 28, 1896, which means his 100th birthday will be on Monday. Since Mondays are awkward concert dates for orchestras, the Cheektowaga Community Symphony Orchestra and its music director, John Landis, will be celebrating Hanson's 100th two days earlier, with a 7 p.m. Saturday "All American Fall Concert" in Maryvale Senior High School. The center of attention, of course, will be Hanson's Symphony No. 3, a work written in 1938 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the first Swedish settlement on the Delaware River. The composer wanted to pay tribute to the epic qualities of those pioneers, who later forged a road westward and settled principally in in the upper Midwest. They included, of course, Hanson's own ancestors. This is one of Hanson's most attractive works, but it will be receiving, according to my records, its first Buffalo area performance since 1948. Also on the program will be Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," with pianist Heidi Upton as soloist, and Ferde Grofe's 1924 "Mississippi Suite."
-- Herman Trotter
A MIX OF ANCIENT AND MODERN
It's clear from his bright and rich encaustic paintings -- an ancient wax technique that goes back to the Egyptians -- that Mark Lavatelli enjoys the traditional pleasures of painting. But that doesn't prevent him from sitting down at the computer for a good day of electronic drawing. Among his new series are works that begin as digital images and only later become encaustic. This combination of the old and new is paralleled in the artist's mixture of abstract and representational ways of working. In "Mark Lavatelli: Glade," an exhibition opening Sunday at the Castellani Art Museum, you'll see trees, but trees that are brighter and more geometric than those nature usually offers. The exhibition begins with a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. and continues on view through Jan. 12 on the campus of Niagara University.
-- Richard Huntington
MARCHING TO FREDONIA
Jolly good entertainment and ripping good music will be provided by Keith Brion and His New Sousa Band when they troop into Fredonia's King Concert Hall at 8 p.m. Sunday to recreate the kind of pops concerts which became such a rage a century ago under the baton of the famous John Philip Sousa. The performance, a feature of Fredonia State College's Someplace Special Pops Series, is called "Stars, Stripes and Sousa!" and was created for Brion's 45-member ensemble's "Centennial Tour," which is observing the current season's 100th birthday of Sousa's most famous march, "The Stars and Stripes Forever," which has been officially designated as America's National March. Regional historians have determined that the original Sousa Band visited neighboring Dunkirk in 1896 and 1902. Brion, who goes for authenticity not only in his Sousa conducting style and uniforms for himself and the musicians, has selected a program that might have been played during that 1896 concert. It will include the expected complement of Sousa works, plus pieces by Grainger, Gounod and (surprise!) the Finale from Mahler's Symphony No. 3. For fall, three Fredonia faculty members have been invited to tour: Wade Weast, trumpet; Barry Kilpatrick, trombone; and Marc Guy, French horn.
-- Herman Trotter