Potomac Arts Academy, Department of Music Present High School Honor Band Festival

Posted: January 6, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Mason’s Potomac Arts Academy and the Department of Music will present the 2009 High School Honor Band Festival Jan. 22-24 on Mason’s Fairfax Campus.

The festival will give band students from public and private high schools in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., the opportunity to participate in master classes and workshops with Mason’s distinguished music faculty; perform under the direction of internationally renowned composer and conductor Mark Camphouse, who directs the Mason Wind Symphony; and rehearse and perform with Doc Nix and The Green Machine, Mason’s award-winning pep band.

Selected students also will have the opportunity to perform with the United States Navy Band, which is in residence for the international saxophone symposium.

The Honor Band Festival is the launching event for the newly expanded Potomac Arts Academy, a program of Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA).

“The Potomac Arts Academy is very pleased to be collaborating with George Mason University’s Department of Music band organizations in presenting the 2009 High School Honor Band Festival,” says Elizabeth Curtis, manager of Potomac Arts Academy.

“This year’s festival offers students expanded experiences ranging from master classes, panel discussions and special performance opportunities. Combine this with working with some of Mason’s finest faculty and you have a truly unique and very exciting program.”

Students will be required to study, rehearse and perform several works with the theme of “Music in Wartime” at this year’s Honor Band Festival.

“Music is a powerful means of communication,” says Camphouse. “I chose the ‘Music in Wartime’ theme to try to illustrate to Honor Band students and the audience just how connected music is with historic events and the human condition.”

Mason’s Wind Symphony will perform works selected by Camphouse from their concert repertoire. These include John Paulson’s “Epinicion,” Camphouse’s “Anthem” and Daniel Bukvich’s Symphony No. 1 “In Memoriam Dresden.”

Paulson’s “Epinicion” refers to the song of victory at the conclusion of a triumphant battle. Ancient Greeks sang an epinicion while they walked through the battlefield sorting the wounded from the dead. Written during the final days of the Vietnam War, Paulson wished to portray to inevitable insanity, despair and the absolute horrors of war.

Composed by Camphouse in 2007, “Anthem” incorporates elements of the national anthems of both the United States and the Republic of Iraq. However, it is not a “war piece.” Rather, it invites the listener to contemplate the ramifications of the conflict as it might be viewed by an Iraqi civilian and by a U.S. serviceman or woman.

Originally composed as his master thesis assignment, Symphony No. 1 “In Memoriam Dresden” helped propel Bukvich’s career into national prominence. The work depicts the Allied forces firebombing of Dresden, Germany, on the night of Feb.13, 1945, when approximately 150,000 men, women and children were killed.

Potomac Arts Academy is the community outreach branch of CVPA. The academy provides year-long classes, special events and seminars and a wide variety of summer programs to community members of all ages, skill levels and socioeconomic backgrounds.

The faculty members at Potomac Arts Academy include CVPA professors, graduate students and well-respected members of the arts community.

“We are delighted to host this event,” CVPA Dean William Reeder says. “Bands form the backbone of American musical and ceremonial life. Having the opportunity to engage some of the nation’s finest musicians in this concentrated fashion is important to CVPA’s understanding of the field and its leaders.”

For more information on the 2009 High School Honor Band Festival, contact John Kilkenny, festival coordinator, at jkilken1@gmu.edu or 703-993-1607.

Festival Performance Schedule

Friday, Jan. 23, at 8 p.m.

United States Navy Band Concert

Center for the Arts Concert Hall

Free, nonticketed

Saturday, Jan. 24, at 1 p.m.

Mason Wind Symphony High School Honor Band

Center for the Arts Concert Hall

Free, nonticketed

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