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Listen! the winds

Frontier_2Behold, to the left, the members of the Frontier High School Wind Ensemble and the Erie County Wind Ensemble in rehearsal this week. If they look preoccupied, that is because they are working on an unusual program, to be presented tonight.

This is a Side by Side concert, in which mature musicians coach their school-age counterparts. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra adopts the same strategy with student musicians. For tonight's concert, Frontier High School Wind Ensemble Director Michael Shaw has made his own transcription of Johan Halvorsen's "Suite Ancienne." The Erie County Wind Ensemble is performing that on their own. Then the two groups together are tackling a new wind arrangement of Bernstein's "Symphonic Dances from 'West Side Story.'"

Shaw points out that these dances, in their orchestral form, were just performed last night on WNED's "Great Performances" series by the San Francisco Symphony and former Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas. He says: "Concert band musicians have long wished for a transcription of the suite, but until the publishing of this brand-new setting, the Bernstein estate had not sanctioned one."

It's great when our student ensembles and the musicians show such a spirit of adventure. Want to cheer these folks on? The concert starts at 7:30 tonight -- this is Thursday night, we're talking about -- at Frontier High School, 4432 Bay View Road, Hamburg. It's $3 for adults, $2 for students.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

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