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A golden anniversary

Posted: Wednesday, Mar 13, 2024
NIC Wind Symphony Concert
 NIC Wind Symphony Concert
NIC Music Professor Terry Jones, left, conducts a rehearsal with the NIC Wind Symphony on March 6 at a classroom in Boswell Hall at NIC’s Coeur d’Alene Campus.

Bold beaming brass, lulling clarinets, triumphant trumpets, silky smooth saxophones.

Instruments played in the North Idaho College Wind Symphony are as unique as the musicians themselves, each with their own individual music that completes the sound as a whole.

“It’s amazing,” said Cookie Haakenson, 88, who plays the French horn. “It’s therapy. It’s good for the soul. We’re so blessed.”

The Wind Symphony is celebrating its golden 50th anniversary this year.

Alto sax player Linda Barnett, 76, has been a Wind Symphony member since the beginning. She recalled how she saw a Coeur d’Alene Press advertisement for the symphony asking for musicians to lend their skills to the group.

“I thought, ‘What a great way to motivate me to play my horn again,’” she said. “So I called the director and said, ‘Can I come play? What do I have to do?’”

No audition was necessary. The then-director told her to just show up.

Since that time, Barnett has performed about 250 times with the symphony. It’s also where she met her husband.

“We’re a big team, it’s like a family,” Barnett said. “They’re my extended family.”

She said what she has appreciated throughout the years is the participation of varying generations.

“People have their kids, or there’s a dad and two kids,” Barnett said. “It’s interesting to see we all play the same music and enjoy the same music. I can be in my 70s and we’re playing with kids who are in high school. I think that’s a really cool thing.”

The NIC Wind Symphony’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, conducted by Terry Jones, will be at 7:30 p.m. March 20 in the Boswell Hall Schuler Performing Arts Center at NIC’s Coeur d’Alene campus. Past and present members and their countless hours of dedicated participation will be recognized. Barnett will be at the top of the list of honorees for being a lifelong Wind Symphony member.

The concert is free and open to the public.

The concert will begin with the world premiere of local musician Caden Davis’ “Fanfare for Wind Symphony.” Davis composed this piece for this occasion and it will serve as a “kickstarter” for the special program.

The second selection will be an old Wind Symphony warhorse: “Chester'' by William Schuman. Based on a William Billings anthem that was popular during the American Revolution, the music expresses the burning desire for freedom, which sustained the colonists throughout the war.

The concert also features local musician and music publisher Tom Tucker’s original composition “Music by the Lake,” a piece that musically describes making music by the lake.

The Wind Symphony will perform three movements from the “Suite of Old American Dances.” The first movement is a delightful “Cakewalk,” which originated from life on the old Southern plantation. The second movement will be a “Schottische,” a German variant of several Bohemian dances and the forefather to the polka. The third movement, once called the “Texas Tommy,” will be the “Western One Step,” a perky melody with an equally bright-eyed tempo sure to get the feet tapping. Dancing will be encouraged.

The concert will continue with Robert Jager’s “Third Suite, another piece with three movements. Each movement centers around developing a somewhat quirky, somewhat cheerful melody that is developed by playing with the expected rhythms. The first movement is a march, normally heard with a duple beat, here Jager alternates between a duple feel and a triple feel. The second movement, “Waltz,” continues the idea by alternating between the expected three-beat feel with a two-beat feel. The last movement, “Rondo,” substitutes rhythmic energy for an unexpected feel and ends the suite in a playful, energetic way.

The Wind Symphony will present a piece in collaboration with special guest Andrea Olson. Olson will narrate the performance of Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait.” This piece combines the brilliance of Copland’s orchestration with the ever-poignant words of Lincoln, a true American Classic.

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