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Lamar Civic Orchestra concert celebrates ‘Film and Swing’

The Lamar Civic Orchestra will bring two contrasting styles of music from the big band era to life at its spring concert, “Film and Swing,” at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 1. The free performance will be in the Setzer Student Center Ballroom on the campus of Lamar University.

“The film background selections of ‘The Gadfly’ and ‘Maxim Trilogy’ are actually suites of movements drawn from film scores written by the Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich,” said Kurt Gilman, associate professor of music and coordinator of the strings program at Lamar.

The concert, under the general direction of Gilman, opens with “The Gadfly” and then moves into Henry Mancini’s love theme “Too Little Time,” from “The Glenn Miller Story,” arranged by Wayne Dyess, Lamar’s director of jazz studies. Dyess also arranged David Valintin’s Cuban-Latin tune “Danzon for my Father,” from the album “Tropic Heat,” and Mancini’s “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” for the concert. He will be featured as solo trombonist on these selections.  

The final work on the program will be Henry Fillmore’s “Lassus Trombone,” written in 1915, also orchestrated by Dyess. Fillmore was an American musician, composer, publisher and bandleader, best known for his many marches and “screamers” (circus music).

“Fillmore, a trombonist himself, gained fame as the ‘Father of the Trombone Smear,’ writing a series of novelty tunes featuring trombone glisses,” said Gilman.  “A ‘gliss,’ short for ‘glissando,’ is one of the trombone's fundamental features, a continuous slide between two notes. A true glissando is rare in the world of instruments. Fillmore wrote 15 such tunes, and all had a strong ragtime influence.”

The Lamar Civic Orchestra is a full symphony orchestra organized by Gilman in 2008 to provide an opportunity for trained musicians from all walks of life to perform together and enrich the community.  The orchestra’s members include undergraduate and graduate students at Lamar, students at the Texas Academy of Leadership in the Humanities, Lamar faculty and staff, area music educators, and Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana musicians from a number of different professions.

For more information, visit lamar.edu/music or call (409) 880-8077.