Northwinds Band Presents ‘Sounds of Courage’ May 3

Northwinds Concert Band, under the direction of Larry Marsh, is honored to present the American premiere of a new work by Austrian composer Otto M. Schwarz, in a program of music celebrating “Sounds of Courage” at the Florissant Civic Center Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on May 3.  Tickets are $8 and $6 and may be reserved by calling the Box Office at 921-5678.

This uplifting concert will feature music inspired by acts of courage, from soldiers’ acts of bravery (“Band of Brothers,” “Black Granite March,” “Missing Man”), a girl’s resistance to injustice (“Hairspray”), to the story of the brave souls confronting that Wicked Witch of the East (“The Wizard of Oz”).  And you will love to hear tuba soloist Charles Wilkes courageously explore the musical depths in a high-spirited polka.

The band will round out the program with patriotic marches, waltzes and popular favorites.

Schwarz’s powerful composition “The Secret of the White Rose” honors the memory of a group of courageous young Germans who risked their lives opposing Hitler.  The composer personally asked Marsh if he and Northwinds would like to be the first in America to perform this work that Marsh says is sure to become an international favorite.

A special photo exhibition about White Rose and other courageous young resisters will be featured in a lobby display on the evening of the concert.

Entitled “Long Live Freedom,” the exhibit, produced by the German Culture Center at the University of Missouri St-Louis, will begin a national tour.

Another concert highlight will be “African Dreams,” a new composition by Brant Karrick, inspired by the true story of William Kamkwamba, who was in St. Louis this month appearing onstage with former President Bill Clinton.   Due to severe famine in Malawi, Africa, in 2001-2002, William’s family lacked the funds to pay the $80 in annual school fees and young William was forced to drop out of school midway through his freshman year.  For five years he was unable to go to school.

Starting at 14, rather than accept his fate, William started borrowing books from a small community lending library located at his former primary school. He borrowed a 5th grade American textbook called Using Energy, which depicted a wind turbine on its cover. He decided to build a windmill from junkyard scraps in order to help feed his village.

Through his books, he learned how to unlock the magic of a windmill, a magic so strong that it helped him feed his family and the whole village.  Karrick’s composition joyously captures the sounds of the wind, the villagers, and William’s spirit and courage.

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