Saturday, September 24, 2011

Centenary's Dr. Todd Gabriel to debut flute composition at NSU, Thursday 9-29-2011

Courtesy of an NSU David West news release -


Dr. Todd Gabriel on viola
 A casual conversation just over a year ago led to a rare opportunity for the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra: the debut of Todd Gabriel’s Four Attitudes Made with 12 Tones Thursday, Sept. 29, at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Admission is $10 for non-season ticket holders and free for Northwestern State University, Louisiana School for Math, Sciences and the Arts and BPCC@NSU students with a current I.D. Dr. Douglas Bakenhus conducts the orchestra.

Four Attitudes Made with 12 Tones features Northwestern State Professor of Flute Dennette McDermott. Gabriel and McDermott each perform in the Longview and Shreveport Symphony Orchestras.

“One day Todd told me he had been listening to me play and asked if he could write a composition for me,” said McDermott. “I am honored he did this. Most flutists don’t have this type of opportunity to have something written for them. Most pieces are for flute and piano, but a work for orchestra allowed Todd to work with the whole box of crayons instead of just a couple of magic markers.”

This is the first time Gabriel wrote a flute composition in almost a decade. His late wife, Katherine Kitzman, was a flutist and Gabriel wrote several compositions for her.

“I avoided writing for the flute until now,” said Gabriel, a professor of theory/composition and conductor of the Hurley School of Music Orchestra at Centenary College. “Katherine had a large library of flute music which I gave to Dennette for her and the university to use. That’s how the relationship began.”

Gabriel has attended several orchestra rehearsals to hear the orchestra play his work.

“The orchestra has done a good job,” he said. “They seem to be enjoying it.”

According to Gabriel, he doesn’t begin to write a composition with an end result in mind.

“Ideas start small then it’s like putting a puzzle together,” he said. “You have a general idea about the characteristics, and as you go, you make decisions along the way that can take you in different directions. It starts to form its own life. You get a version and everything works out.”

Writing 12 Tones with McDermott in mind did help the process.

“Sometimes when you start a piece, you have nothing to relate to, but this is more of a character piece,” said Gabriel. “It’s not necessarily Dennette as a person, but takes into account her approach to the flute. I wrote it considering her strengths as a player.”

McDermott has practiced 12 Tones for months and appreciates Gabriel’s approach.

“The piece has elements of modern style and also draws on traditional elements,” said McDermott. “It also has some rock and roll and bluesy parts. There is a lot packed in there. It’s very clever.”

Also on the program will be Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 in C major, “The Great.”

For more information on the concert, contact Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society President Marilyn McMurtry at 238-2312 or at

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The West Edge String Quartet with pianist Anna Bulkina 9-18-2011

in concert 9-18-2011
An absolutely exquisite performance
Thanks to the Friends of the Wideman Competition for sponsoring this free event at FBC, Shreveport

Concert photos to follow

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11 . . . . 10 year anniversary concert - East Texas Remembers - a tribute to the victims and heroes - presented by Kilgore College Sunday 9-11-2011

Kilgore College presents a free concert tribute to the victims and heroes of 9/11 at Dobson Auditorium, Kilgore College - 6:00 PM 9-11- 2011 .  Patriotic and inspirational music conducted by Jim Taylor, Director of Choral Activities at Kilgore College, will be presented by a 150 voice adult choir, a children's choir, vocal soloists and a full orchestra of professional musicians.

Participating choirs

The Kilgore College Chorale
The Panola College Chorale
THe East Texas Community Chorus
The East Texas Youth Chorus
The Music Machine Children's choir

vocal soloists

Melanie Sullivan, soprano
Jeanne Johnson, mezzo-soprano
Bill Holda, tenor
Mark Horner, bass
Jon Starling, tenor

Media, Sound and lighting, Dennis Cliborn

Conductor/Artistic Director Jim Taylor

concert program

Requiem and Kyrie (1st Mvt) by Verdi

Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber

Hymn to the Fallen by John Williams

Liberty Fanfare by John Williams

America the Beautiful arr by Reed

Fifty Nifty United States (children's choir)

American Armed Forces Medley  - a Salute

A Lincoln Portrait by Copland

The Prayer

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Conductor Jim Taylor
Concertmaster Diana Hector Norwood

vocal soloist for God Bless America,  Jon Starling
Choir members

bassoonist Neil Smith
Johnette, Arthur and Christina
choir waiting to rehearse
violist Mario Torres

Dinner time between rehearsal and the concert - Kilgore College provided box lunches for all.
Took part of mine home for later as I do not eat much before I play a concert

violinist Lydia Davis
Dan, Edward and Brett

Principal violist Adrienne Gabriel
The audience arrives early to grab the best seats
Percussionist Anthony Robinson
percussionist Doug Parmelee in background

Principal trombonist Debra Scott

2nd trombonist Tom Mensch
Bass trombonist Heather Mensch

Principal Horn Tom Hundemer answering a question after the concert from a youth choir member about the mute

3rd horn Tammy Brown packing it away after the concert

4th horn Craig Pratt warming down before packing it away