DEXTER — The Dexter Community Band is celebrating its 40th anniversary Sunday, May 15, with the world premiere of two original pieces of music.
Gichigamiin: The Five Fresh Water Seas was commissioned by the band and written by Satoshi Yagisawa, a Japanese composer internationally known for his dramatic musical scores. Taking its name from the Native American Ojibwe word for the Great Lakes, Yagisawa drew inspiration from the vivid scenery, moods and maritime folklore that surround Michigan.
The band will also be performing the Dexter Community Band March composed by Dr. Max Plank, a long-time Chelsea resident and retired professor of music and director of bands from Eastern Michigan University. Dr. Plank, who composed the march in celebration of the band’s 40th anniversary, will be on hand to conduct the piece.
“This is an important milestone for our band,” said Director William W. Gourley. “We wanted to celebrate in style by giving our loyal audience members something special. I’m extremely grateful to Mr. Yagisawa and Dr. Plank for bringing their international and local talents to help us showcase this moment.”
Nick Smith from Eastern Michigan University will serve as announcer at the concert. Smith is an associate professor, associate director of bands and director of athletic bands at EMU.
Also on the program are The Magnificent Seven by Elmer Bernstein; The Cowboys by John Williams; Arizona by Frank Cesarini; and Heal, a piece from Robert W. Smith dedicated to medical professionals.
The 3 p.m. event will be held at the Center for Performing Arts in Dexter High School, 2200 North Parker Road, Dexter. In according with Washtenaw County guidelines, social distancing of family groups is recommended. While mask wearing is optional, a supply of masks will be made available.
Formed in 1982 by Chris Wall, director of Dexter’s Community Education Programs, the band started with 11 members under the direction of Dave Angus, a professor of education at University of Michigan.
Since then, the band has become a regular fixture of the Washtenaw community music scene with about 85 musicians. In addition to four concerts a year, band members perform in smaller ensembles at local senior centers and take part in numerous other music groups.
Under the baton of Gourley, the band toured Europe extensively in the summer of 2001, performing concerts in Vienna, Zagreb, Venice, Verona, and Florence. The band toured Ireland in the summer of 2016 with concerts in Dublin, Killarney, and Galway.