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Listen for Georgetown’s ‘Legacy’ in Premiere of Holsinger Work

Composer David R. Holsinger of Lee University’s School of Music

David R. Holsinger – the world’s best-known composer of band music, according to Georgetown College director Pete LaRue – won’t be on campus when the Tiger Symphonic Band and “friends” premiere his “Legacy Music” at 8 p.m., April 24.

While Georgetown’s traditional Band Gala is taking place in John L. Hill Chapel, Holsinger will be conducting at one of his alma maters – the University of Kansas, helping the Music and Arts Department celebrate its 50th anniversary. Of course, he and other KU fans are still celebrating a second NCAA basketball title earned earlier this month. Kentuckians should identify with his jovial “Rock Chalk Jayhawk” cry into the telephone when asked if he might sneak up here for a listen.

But, Holsinger may have a better feel for Georgetown College than anyone who hasn’t been to campus. Asked by LaRue several years ago to model this commissioned piece after the tune of the Alma Mater, he researched the institution and especially drew from the “Then & Now” video on the College’s website. In his About the Music statement, he wrote:

Holsinger sporting the popular Tiger Band Hoodie; wrote Pete LaRue, he’s captured the "Spirit of the Grrr..."

“I was inspired by the stories of the turbulent early history of this school.  Decade after decade of sacrificial service exemplified by men and women of faith seem to call out from the past. Matthew 11:12 reads: From the Days of John the Baptist till now, the Kingdom of God has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men take hold of it.

“This work commemorates the LEGACY of those forceful men and women of faith and their desire to establish a haven of Christian Education two centuries strong.”

Rather than composing a variation of the (1926) hymn “Are Ye Able, Said the Master,” Holsinger has given us his impression of Georgetown, one of “future promise.”

“I kind of identify with a small, private college that has had growing pains – almost stopping pains,” said the graduate of Central Methodist College in Missouri, the only smaller school for which he has written.

“I’m not a dark person…I’m optimistic, light hearted,” said Holsinger, a two-time recipient of the prestigious Ostwald Composition Prize of the American Bandmasters Association. “And I think my attitude comes out in this piece.”

What Holsinger feels about Georgetown is bound to be well-interpreted by the symphonic band because LaRue – after many phone calls and email exchanges over the years with his “hero” – paid him a recent visit in Cleveland, TN, where he is Composer / Conductor of the Wind Ensemble, Lee University School of Music.

“I tell my students: Go meet the composer. Music is very personal,” Holsinger said. “So, yes, Pete and I had a great time together. He’ll know how to play my music.”

LaRue was fascinated by the fact that Holsinger first “develops a movie in his mind, then writes a soundtrack. He paints these vivid pictures, these visual imageries that are so evocative,” the Georgetown director said.

“The playing of Legacy Music will never mean as much to anyone as it does us at Georgetown,” LaRue said.

LaRue expects a crowded house because he said, “There’s not a band on the planet that hasn’t played a piece by Holsinger.” Among the special guests that evening will be his 19 “Gem Alumni” – LaRue’s Hall of Fame, if you will … doctors, lawyers, business people, teachers, preachers and public servants who are coming from all over the country to be a part of this special gala in this 163rd year of Tiger Bands.

One of those Gem’s, Emily Hales Bennett ’03, an Assistant City Prosecutor in Columbus, OH, writes:

“I have always loved Mr. Holsinger's music. I was very blessed to have been selected to be a part of an honor band conducted by (Holsinger) when I was in junior high school. I didn't get a chance to tell him this at the time, but I had reached a point where I had thought about quitting playing the flute. However, I was reminded about the joy of music at that honor band and chose to continue.

“If it had not been for that honor band I may have never been part of the Tiger Bands and if it hadn't been for the Tiger Bands I wouldn't be where I am today. Therefore, this piece is incredibly special to me and reminds me that what we do can affect people for years to come and in ways we would never even imagine!”

GavinFeatured Student Soloist for the concert is senior Gavin Sewell, who will play “Manhattan” (by Philip Sparke) on trumpet. “When Pete (LaRue) asked me a year ago, I didn’t know this Holsinger piece was coming, too,” said the Biology major/Church Music minor from Dawson Springs, KY. “I was especially flattered when I found out.” He said, “Manhattan has kind of jazz feel – very smooth, very relaxed – with lots of room for expression.”

There will also be a special offering by the Tiger Band Saxophone Quintet, and the traditional honoring of the Senior Band Scholars and a reception in the lobby of the Chapel immediately following the concert.

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