The month of January features numerous bowl games and marching bands from almost every university in the country. One may easily, albeit incorrectly, surmise that extra circulatory activities involving football and the dance (cheerleading) and music (marching bands) supporting the game related revelries are the end all university education. Well, we know there is another side to university life, and it involves a more disciplined approach to the pursuit of happiness. You may ask how does the “pursuit of happiness” enter the equation of academic work and emotional pleasure.
One can conclude with some certainty that music evokes a sense of well-being, excitement, contentment and a variety of numerous other pleasurable emotions and responses. It matters little if one is the music giver or taker. Music appeals to the intellect and to our senses of reason because of its relation to numbers.
The ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras discovered the importance of numbers in music, and the connection which he established between music and arithmetic survives to this day in the mathematical terms “harmonic mean” and “harmonic expression”.*
Let me now take you to Cedar City Utah and Southern Utah University (SUU) for an example of mathematics as enlightenment, inspiration and stimulation of both the intellect and the senses that the gift of music gives to all that participate in its expression and experience. The Mesquite Weekly is proud to present a performance of the Southern Utah University’s Alumni Band. The Band Concert features the SUU Wind Symphony and former members of the SUU Band.
Please watch or listen and enjoy this presentation.
We stopped by the office of Dr. Adam Lambert and had a brief conversation with him about the Alumni band and its formation; its traditions; and its role in maintaining a strong relation with the community and its former students.
Please watch this short interview.
Adam Lambert – Associate Professor of Music Director of Bands
Adam Lambert, Director of Bands and Brass Studies as SUU, directs the Wind Symphony, Athletic Bands and Brass Ensemble, and teaches conducting and private trumpet and French horn at Southern Utah University. Adam is also the conductor of the American Fork Symphony and the Assistant Conductor of the Orchestra of Southern Utah. Adam studied conducting from Eugene Corporon (UNT) James Jordan (Westminster Choir College) , Ron Staheli and David Blacking (BYU). Adam is active as a conductor and clinician for orchestras, concert bands, and jazz bands throughout the region.
As a trumpet soloist, Adam has given performances at many colleges and universities throughout the Midwest, including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Wayne State College, the University of Wyoming, Northwest College, and Colorado State University. He holds degrees in music education from Brigham Young University and a doctorate in trumpet performance from the University of North Texas.
He was awarded a Teaching Fellowship at UNT from 2002 to 2005. Adam performed and recorded with the University of North Texas Wind Symphony under the direction of Eugene Corporon and appears on several recordings featured by the UNT Wind Symphony on the series Teaching Music Through Performance. He has performed as a professional jazz musician at many major jazz festivals, including the Snow Bird Jazz Festival, the Park City Jazz Festival, and the Salt Lake City Jazz Festival. Adam is a Bach trumpet artist and clinician for the Conn-Selmer Corporation. He was the director of bands at Provo High School in Provo, Utah, from 1997 to 2002.
* from the chapter “The Rise of Greek Civilization” – Bertrand Russell
The Shakespeare festival season ended in October, and snow and colder temperatures arrived in Cedar City. However, the Holiday season’s warmth and traditional charm are on display in Cedar City and cut through the winter season’s cold and snow. The performing arts and music seem to be woven in the fabric of this community and their expression extends to the holiday season as well as throughout the entire year.
During December, we attended Christmas favorites such as the Southern University of Utah annual Christmas concert entitled “Somewhere in my Memory”, an SUU sponsored piano recital called “Piano Monster Concert” and a perennial Christmas favorite “Handel’s Messiah” performed by the Orchestra of Southern Utah. The beautiful city Christmas lights and the many musical performances dazzled the community and visitor alike at the Cedar City Heritage Center.
Heritage and History
I had the privilege of attending a rehearsal session of Handel’s Messiah and meeting the Orchestra of Southern Utah Administrator, Patron and Historian, Sara Penny. We spoke with Sara and talked at length about the Orchestra of Southern Utah origins and historical events. Sara provided an overview of those who contributed to the unique character of Cedar City’s musical excellence and community participation. From Fiddlers Canyon, to the Heritage Center concert hall; from the beginnings of the Orchestra of Southern Utah and to the many accomplishments, accolades and awards.
Earlier that day I visited the Main Street park and came upon a statue of one of Cedar City’s most prominent citizens, Helen Foster Snow. Ties to the Orchestra of Southern Utah as Sara Penny explained, are established and play out in relationships that are nurtured and transcend the boundaries of both time and place. A unique interplay of Cedar City’s communities and families with their local government and businesses and a strong relationship with the Southern Utah University College of the Performing Arts provides an unparalleled measure of musical success and excellence.
Please join me for a visit with Sara Penny. You may note some of the rehearsal music playing in the background, so listen and watch this interview!
The most notable of the players, is of course, from a time long ago.
George Frideric Handel
(German: Georg Friedrich Händel; pronounced [ˈhɛndəl]) (23 February 1685 — 14 April 1759) was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music. He received critical musical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London (1712) and becoming a naturalised British subject in 1727. By then he was strongly influenced by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition. Within fifteen years, Handel, a dramatic genius, started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera, but the public came to hear the vocal bravura of the soloists rather than the music. In 1737 he had a physical breakdown, changed direction creatively and addressed the middle class with Alexander’s Feast (1736) which was well received. Handel then made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah (1742) he never performed an Italian opera again. Handel was only partly successful with his performances of English Oratorio on mythical or biblical themes, but when he arranged a performance of Messiah to benefit the Foundling Hospital (1750) the critique ended. The pathos of Handel’s oratorio is an ethical one, they are hallowed not by liturgical dignity but by the moral ideals of humanity. Almost blind, and having lived in England for almost fifty years, he died a respected and rich man.
Handel is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time, not only because of his Water Music, and Music for the Royal Fireworks and since the late 1960s, with the revival of baroque music and original instrument interest in Handel’s opera seria also revived. Handel composed forty operas in about thirty years; some are considered masterpieces, with many sweeping arias and much admired improvisations. His operas contain remarkable human characterization by a composer not known for his love affairs.
The more current players and performers are:
Dr. Xun Sun – Conductor
Dr. Xun Sun has served as the Music Director/Conductor of the Orchestra of Southern Utah since 2003. Dr. Sun has made many appearances over the years in concert series and educational programs. Under his leadership, the OSU world premiered the symphonic suite Spanish Trail Suite by Marshall McDonald and Steve Nelson. In June 2008, the League of American Orchestras presented OSU with an Award of Excellence in the Annual Gold Book Online competition and an Audrey Baird Audience Development Award, making OSU the only orchestra to receive these awards from the League of American Orchestras that year.
Dr. Xun Sun is also the Director of Orchestral Activities at Southern Utah University. As a tenured faculty member, his teaching duties include that of conducting the University Symphony Orchestra and String Ensemble. In addition, he teaches courses in Advanced Instrumental Conducting and Applied Instruction of Violin at the Music Department. Dr. Xun Sun has been named The 30 Professions of the Year of 2015 by Musical America. He also received award of 2015 Educator of the Year Award from American String Teachers Association Utah Chapter, and 2014 Board of Trustees Award of Excellence by Southern Utah University.
Professor Xun Sun has continually broadened his professional career as an orchestral conductor. His most recent performance was conducting Henan Symphony Orchestra, Anhui Symphony, Hunan Symphony and Hubei Symphony Orchestra. He conducted the world renowned China Philharmonic Orchestra in recording a new CD of title on America Journey , music by American composers Marshall McDonald and Steve Nelson. In 2007, he was invited to conduct the Lviv Philharmonic in the 8th International Contemporary Music Festival in Ukraine. Mr. Sun also conducted Carlisle Floyd’s opera Susanna, the opera of Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck and Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni. In 2011 he conducted the world premiere of the Modern Dance Drama Helen’s Dream combined production of SUU and Hubei Opera and Dance Drama Theatre of China. As the founder and director, Professor Sun continues to teach the annual Hunan Conductor’s Workshop in Hunan, China.
Jackie Riddle-Jackson – Chorale Director. A native of Cedar City, Utah, Jackie was appointed Director of Orchestra of Southern Utah Chorale in 2015. In addition to her community conducting responsibilities she teaches applied voice, music for the elementary teacher and class voice at Southern Utah University.
Mrs. Jackson is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association and National Association of Teachers of Singing.
Gary Player – Trumpet Gary Player a Southern Utah University Alumni is featured in this 79th. performance of Messiah and is being honored for his dedication to this and many other Orchestra of Southern Utah and Southern Utah University concert performances.
Dr. Christian Bohnenstengel – Harpsicord Dr. Bohnenstengel brings his keyboard skills to Handel’s Messiah and a harpsicord performance which embodies the instruments role in the classical baroque musical sound of the 17th and 18th century.
Alex Byers – Assistant Chorale Director And the Byers Family – Soloists (Alex, Tahlia, Jessie) and Chorale (Lee, Luene)
The Byers family brings their vocal talents to Messiah and their dedication to this musical art form by inspiring, teaching and developing ongoing musical involvement of the families and communities of Cedar City and its surrounds. The traditions of musical performance and dedication to the musical art form is woven into the fabric of the community and is expressed by its families.
And the More Than One Hundred Singers and Players
The dedication of the more than one hundred singers and players who come together to dazzle audiences around Christmas time with a spectacular performance of Haendel’s Messiah is indeed a remarkable and unique phenomenon.
Almost at curtain time we had the privilege of talking to just a few of the folks that helped in making this 79th Orchestra of Southern Utah performance of Handel’s Messiah a dazzling and beautifully amazing event. Please join me and Rebekah Hughes OSU Manager, Dr. Xun Sun OSU Musical Director and Harold Shirley OSU President for brief comments and an introduction by Harold Shirley of this 79th performance of Handel’s Messiah.
The Oratorio – Handel’s Messiah
And now, please kick back, relax and enjoy the full presentation of “Handel’s Messiah” from the Cedar City, Utah Heritage Center 2019 Performance. Please note, Handel’s Messiah is a TWO HOUR performance and is presented here in its entirety. Please watch all of it.
Federal and state legislatures have liberalized gun laws and revised current laws pertaining to dangerous weapons. Recently, existing laws which prohibit a person from carrying guns, including assault weapons, without a permit or any restrictions, have been overturned and churches, schools, universities and even bars are no longer gun free zones.
It is almost impossible to buy assault weapons illegally.
Acquisition of these weapons of mass destruction is afforded to all willing to pay the monetary price, because there are no other restrictions of any kind. A singular exception that prohibits the sale of guns to felons is next to impossible to enforce, because a gun registry does not exist. In effect one can traffic in guns without any repercussion simple because a transactional trail is not available and you may not believe this: “it is illegal to register guns and maintain an automated data base of gun trafficking”.
Most Americans are not happy with people walking around heavily armed in their everyday lives and are horrified when hell is unleashed by a gun “lover”. We recoil at the results of such madness when more than 600 of our loved ones are massacred in a little more than 10 minutes. Time heals all wounds and we will very likely go on and accepts the most gruesome of these events and the usually apathy will prevail. The daily occurring gun tragedies have insignificant impact on our daily lives (unless you are a victim). We have also grown callous; our national conscience chooses to be unaware and ignorant of the daily carnage taking a toll of 40,000 per year and many more wounded. Federal and state funded studies of gun deaths are prohibited by laws passed by legislators we elected to provide for safety and security of all Americans.
Legislators are apparently motivated more by NRA and gun manufactures campaign contributions then by the victims of these insane conditions existing among civilized nations only in the US and some primitive countries. Gun violence and gun killings have increased almost everywhere in the US in comparison to recent years by rates in the double digits. Armed police officers are being shot in the streets. Law enforcement officers are outgunned by militia with weaponry and skills that police can not afford. Laws are ignored and openly flaunted by these “criminals” and they are often further encouraged by some of the “faux-news” media and often by our own government officials.
Open carry has been the standard in the western US and it has its roots in the old west and is still deeply engrained in the cowboy culture (the sponsors of gun hell still wear their 10-gallon hats). Concealed carry is the choice of the coward and has its roots in urban warfare and is readily identifiable with the culture of the gangster.
Our nuclear enemies make no attempt to conceal their nuclear capabilities, for they do not intend to use the bomb but present a serious deterrent against anyone else using the nuclear weapons. The terrorist, coward or mentally disturbed will conceal all weapons until they unleash hell upon all that get in their way.
Our police officers respond with gunfire at any attempt of anyone reaching for their pockets or placing their hands anywhere that a firearm may be there concealed. It is a reasonable expectation that a suspect is carrying concealed weapons. Nevada and Las Vegas have more killings by police officers than even larger cities like New York where stronger gun laws actually reduce the likelihood of a concealed carry.
Safety in carrying a firearm is of extreme importance because of deadly consequences to the carrier or others in the vicinity. A motor vehicle is less deadly yet we have regulations for the driver, the vehicle must meet safety standards, the road must meet safety standards and there are laws to enforce the regulations. Our legislators now want to unleash hell and no longer require any safety standards or safety education for any concealed carry.
Why are our legislatures ready to unleash this hell upon the citizens of the US? It is reasonable to state that this is only about some nebulous sentence in our constitution about a regulated militia bearing arms (flintlock rifles not the modern-day equivalent of nuclear weapons – never mind a well-regulated militia)? It is reasonable to unleash hell for the campaign funds coming in from the NRA or the gun manufactures? Is it reasonable to unleash hell for the marginally few voters who will vote in favor of anyone who claims that guns are a God given right. It is reasonable to unleash hell upon Americans and claim it is for the sake of safety and security and in defense of freedom.
So why are our legislatures and judicial officials not afraid to put concealed weapons in the hands of the mentally disturbed, convicted felons and individuals not able to pass a rudimentary class on safety and proper firearm use? Our legislators and all government officials carry out their work in “Gun Safe Zones” and need not fear the unleashing of hell. “Gun Safe Zones” where created shortly after the tragic event of 911 (where, by the way, no guns were involved). The unleashing of hell upon the public which does not have easy access to these “Gun Safe Zones” is demonstrable in the carnage that is carried out and reported everyday.
Our legislatures and judges surround themselves with an army of armed guards in buildings where the carrying of any dangerous weapon is not allowed. Access is granted in many cases only if one passes through metal detection devices and scanning similar to airport boarding procedures. Our legislatures and judges can thereby proclaim some lofty ideals and not really worry about the consequences and like the cowardly kings hiding in their castles while their foot soldiers have to endure the hell that they have unleashed. I do believe that these legislators and judges are not paranoid but simply acting to preserve life and limb. Their daily contact with the public has made them acutely aware that: “Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year. Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities”. They are also aware of 50% of all guns are being amassed by a mere 3% of all gun owners.
“Gun Safe Zones” are safe and should not only be a hiding place for the privileged lawmakers but a legislative goal and a reality for all our communities. We feel safe when boarding an aircraft because we know the lunatics on board are not carrying dangerous weapons openly or concealed. “Gun Safe Zones” where even police officers do not carry firearms are a reality in many parts of the civilized world. Even in the Old West the sheriff would often disarm visiting cowboys and declare the town a “Gun Safe Zone”.
Guns are a reality in the places where there is no law, where lives are unimportant and the daily carnage is only answered by more violence and more killings.
It is the voter that will eventually hold irresponsible lawmakers accountable for unleashing this new hell. We must recognize the cowardice of these lawmakers who hide in “Gun Safe Zones” while pontificating about some silly cowboy notions about guns. We have an opportunity in upcoming elections to ask those that would represent us, to provide laws that protect us from the criminal and criminally insane gun worshippers. We have a responsibility to elect those that proclaim that we have a right to life and liberty by stopping the gun insanity in our country.
Ask your legislator to commit to the following:
– Ban all assault weapons.
– Ban high capacity magazines.
– Prohibit gun sales to the mentally ill.
– Create a federal database to track all gun sales.
– Require permits (background checks) and gun registration for all guns.
– Require permits for and registration of ammunition purchases.
– Enable federal and state investigations of large quantity purchases of firearms and/or ammunition.
Tell your elected officials that they need to do more against the hell and constant terrorism that is unleashed upon Americans every day and remind them the second amendment qualifies the right to bear arms as a function of a well-regulated militia and is not intended for anarchists, paranoid fear mongers, the enrichment of weapons manufacturers and an “unregulated” militia.
Truth is an objective measure of what things are and not a subjective measure of what we would like things to be. Truth is the true or actual state of a matter. It is in conformity with fact or reality. It is verified or undisputable fact, and an ideal or fundamental reality apart from and transcending perceived existence. Everyone can agree that truth has an ultimate value and truth as measure of all other values is paramount. Read more