Hays Symphony to perform outdoor concert


The Hays Symphony will present an Outdoor Pops Concert: Pops Potpourri; a Jazzy Salute to Fiddling Fun from Leroy Anderson, Morton Gould, and George Gershwin, as part of the Hays Arts Council’s Art Walk Friday, August 26th, at 7:30 p.m., in the Hays Pavilion,10th & Main Streets.

The ensemble is under the direction of Dr. Brian Buckstead, FHSU assistant professor of violin and viola. Each featured composer offers a unique representation of music from the Twentieth Century. This group of American composers, Leroy Anderson, George Gershwin, Morton Gould, and Richard Hayman, were all giants in their field, creating a kind of American songbook.

Once considered America’s favorite ‘pop’ conductor, Richard Hayman conducted a myriad of ensembles throughout the eastern U.S., eventually becoming the chief arranger for the Boston Pops during Arthur Fielder’s tenure. His Pops Hoedown is a kind of ‘Yeehaar,’ barnyard romp giving the orchestra musicians quite a workout. Maestro Buckstead programmed several of Leroy Anderson’s works for this concert, the most famous of which is the “Syncopated Clock.” The piece features woodblock with a constant rhythmic pulse intertwined with short light melodies in the strings. John Williams described Mr. Anderson as “one of the greatest American masters of light orchestral music.”

Morton Gould, considered a child prodigy, had his first composition published at six. He later studied at the prestigious Julliard School and became an accomplished pianist. He was employed at Radio City Music Hall as a staff pianist, exposing him to both classical and popular programming of the day. “Yankee Doodle” was inspired by his lifelong endearment of those who served in our armed services. “American Salute” was originally written for orchestra (in 24 hours) and then later for band. The work represents Gould’s skill in thematic development; he creates the work based solely upon the melody of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”

George Gershwin, well known for his epic “Rhapsody in Blue” and jazzy show-stopping Broadway tunes, showed his more reflective side with his “Lullaby for Strings.” When Lullaby was finally published in 1968, Ira Gershwin wrote, “It may not be the Gershwin of Rhapsody in Blue, Concerto in F, and his other concert works, but I find it charming and kind.” Bring a lawn chair and enjoy an outdoor concert celebrating American music in this Pops Potpourri Concert. This free concert and the post-concert reception consisting of cookies and drinks are made possible by Cathy’s Breads and AutoWorld.

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