World Premiere of new composition performed by DWU band

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DWU winter band concert poster graphic

Next weekend, the Dakota Wesleyan Band will perform the world premiere of a piece written specifically for them by a South Dakota composer.

The Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music at DWU will host a concert by the Wesleyan Band and LyricWood Orchestra at 4 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 11, in the Sherman Center. This concert is free and open to the public.

The band will perform a composition created specifically for them called “A Higher Plain.” It was composed by the well-known South Dakota musician and composer Jeremy Hegg and commissioned by the Glenn E. Soladay Estate for the Dakota Wesleyan University Band.

“I have been working with the composer of the piece since April of 2017, and the composer has done a fantastic job of tailoring it to fit the students in the band,” said Bethany Amundson, director of bands at DWU. “The end result is a piece that really showcases the students’ abilities.”

Hegg took it a step further to customize the piece to the school, itself. He was inspired by George McGovern’s legacy and the title of the piece, “A Higher Plain,” was taken from a famous speech by McGovern where he says: “The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plain.”

“It is truly an honor to have a piece specifically written for us, and we are beyond excited to perform the world premiere on the campus of DWU,” Amundson said.

The concert will also feature Mitchell High School’s band director, Ryan Stahle, with the LyricWood Orchestra. They will perform two selections from the “Charlie Parker with Strings” album. Also performing with LyricWood will be the White Spruce Chamber Players, preforming “Urban Concerto Grosso,” by Brian Balmages. White Spruce Chamber Players is an ensemble of professional musicians, including LyricWood director Elizabeth Soladay on viola.