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NEWS | May 11, 2006

Air Force unveils new concert series

By Tech. Sgt. David T. Barr Air Force Heritage of America Band

The United States Air Force Heritage of America Band at Langley will debut the “Great Composers Series” Memorial Day weekend. 

The concerts will be held May 26 at Jamestown High School in Williamsburg, May 27 at Christopher Newport University’s Ferguson Center and May 28 at Willett Hall in Portsmouth.  

The concerts will feature major works by world-acclaimed composers, giving the band the opportunity to share with local audiences some great artistic music written for concert band. 

For the past 10 years, the band has presented “The Sousa Spectacular Series,” featuring military marches, various works by J. P. Sousa and other music performed in the traditional Sousa style. 

The first “Great Composers Series” will feature the “Symphony in B-Flat” by Paul Hindemith, “Colonial Song” by Percy Grainger, “Old American Songs” by Aaron Copland and “Divertimento” by Leonard Bernstein.  

The featured soloist will be Heritage of America Band soprano saxophonist Tech. Sgt. Gail Adams, performing Gregory Pascuzzi’s “Aria and Allegro.”  Maj. Douglas Monroe, USAF Heritage of America Band commander and guest conductor Harvey Benstein will share the conducting honors.  

Mr. Benstein is currently the music director and conductor of the Walnut Creek Concert Band and Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, two popular San Francisco Bay area performing organizations. He is also a music educator in Moraga, Calif. 

Mr. Benstein has studied with such luminaries as Elsa Ludwig Verdehr, H. Robert Reynolds, Elizabeth Green and Stanley DeRusha.   

Prior to his relocation to California, Mr. Benstein served as professor of conducting and ensemble director at Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind.; McNeese State University in Lake Charles, La.; and Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. 

His diverse background in the wind ensemble and orchestral repertoire allow Mr. Benstein to bring a wealth of experience and artistry to the podium. Ensembles under his direction demonstrate sensitive musicianship, clarity and a wide range of musical styles.  

His musical interpretations have won him the praises of many renowned conductors and composers. Mr. Benstein maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States and abroad and has conducted in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Sydney (Australia) Town Hall and The Sydney Opera House. Ensembles under his direction have toured Europe, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.