'Classics' performed by Sturgis Wind Symphony

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Sturgis Wind Symphony brought “Classics” to an appreciative audience Sunday at Sturges-Young Center for the Arts, under the direction of R. Scott Davidson.

The theme fit the program on many levels.

Earlier report: Sturgis Wind Symphony to present 'Classics'

A new classic to the symphony is a historic marimba, purchased through Newell Franks Family Foundation.

On Sunday, percussionist Emily Halling was making music on the "Gladys Amy Herbertson" Deagan King George marimba #57. She is the most recent in a long line of musicians to use the instrument.

History shows100 Deagan King George marimbas were made for the International Marimba Symphony Orchestra tour in the early 1930s. A special model was also crafted for the orchestra conductor, Clair Omar Musser.

One of their stops was the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Aug. 20, 1933: "An unusual musical organization is now appearing nightly in the court of the Hall of Science. It is a marimba band of 100 pieces directed by Clair Omar Musser." Source: www.steveweissmusic.com

The Gladys Amy Herbertson marimba, now at home with Sturgis Wind Symphony, was crafted especially for her. One of the rules of joining the orchestra was buy-your-own-marimba, and her engraved name plaque is firmly in place. She also played it later with the "House of David" orchestra.

The percussion section is important to any symphony and sometimes they are in the spotlight. That was the case Sunday with “Introduction and Fantasia” when Ray Swinsick, Newell Franks, Karla Hart, Dustin Krontz and Halling got a workout.

Another classic closer to home was a piece called “Gateway to Michigan March.” Davidson told how in preparation for the 1996 Sturgis centennial celebration, he was pulling together a band for the gala. Larry Franks called him to present this piece written in 1925 by a Sturgis attorney, J. Paul Wait, titled “The Gateway to Michigan March.”

Davidson immediately recognized it as a ragtime piece rather than a march, but it retained the name and the band performed it at the gala.

Davidson’s centennial band was so impressive, city commissioners asked him keep it up. Sturgis Wind Symphony was born.

Other classics at Sunday's show included “Whispers” which Davidson said the group often plays in honor of a loved one’s passing. This time, it was performed in honor of those caught in the Ukraine-Russia crossfire.

Lauren Davidson, vocal soloist, performed with “It Had to Be You” and “More Than You Know.”

Other numbers included a medley from both “The Music Man” and “My Fair Lady.”

The next Sturgis Wind Symphony show is scheduled for Dec. 11.

Emily Halling of Sturgis Wind Symphony, on the 1930 marimba, making its debut Sunday on the Struges-Young stage.
Emily Halling of Sturgis Wind Symphony, on the 1930 marimba, making its debut Sunday on the Struges-Young stage.
R. Scott Davidson, directing Sturgis Wind Symphony's performance, titled "Classics" — a theme that fit at many levels.
R. Scott Davidson, directing Sturgis Wind Symphony's performance, titled "Classics" — a theme that fit at many levels.
Sturgis Wind Symphony includes members of all ages, from five counties.
Sturgis Wind Symphony includes members of all ages, from five counties.

This article originally appeared on Sturgis Journal: 'Classics' of all kinds dominated the Sturgis Wind Symphony concert