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Davis, California

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Mondavi to host UC Davis Concert Band

Tomorrow night, UC Davis Concert Band will hold their end-of-the-quarter performance at the Mondavi Center. The theme is ‘technology through the ages’, from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair to the modern day intersection of art and technology through video games.

The performance will include a diverse array of musical styles, from famous 1894 concert pieces, to Indonesian Gamelan, to themes from modern-day video games. The pieces will be performed in conjunction with projected visual displays, including historic photographs of the Chicago World’s Fair and clips of the video games.

In an email interview with Joshua Small, UC Davis Concert Band member, he discussed how the 1893 Fair will be depicted through music.

“We will be depicting the 1893 World’s Fair by playing a piece titled Twenty Minutes on the Midway Plaisance by Clarence Dalbey,” Small said. “The Midway featured exhibits from cultures across the globe. For example, there was an Irish village, German village, Java village, Chinese theater, Bedouin encampment and a downtown Cairo exhibit.”

Small added that the incorporation of visual and audio with the music adds to the audience’s experience.

“What Dalbey does in his piece is take the listener on a tour of the Midway by providing distinct selections of music for each cultural exhibit,” Small said. “This visual and audio combination should really aid the audience in obtaining a more tangible feel for the fair.”

The second portion of the performance will focus on video games, such as Super Mario, Halo, World of Warcraft, Advent Rising, Final Fantasy, Myst, Civilization and Kingdom Hearts.

Sasha Jasty, UC Davis Concert Band member and third-year political science and Japanese double major, explained in an email interview how this segment will be performed.

“In addition to performing the music from these games, we will also be using visual presentations that include images and video footage in tandem with the music to give gamers and non-gamers in the audience context for enjoying the music,” Jasty said.

In an email interview with Pete Nowlen, the Band’s director, he explained why he chose this theme and why he finds the 1893 Exposition and video games relevant to the theme of technology.

“When I did some research on the 1893 Columbian Exposition, I learned that it was a very important event in the history of our nation’s relationship with technology,” Nowlen said. “Prior to the Exposition, the general attitude of the nation had been fearful of the technological developments that were sweeping the world, and that the Exposition contributed to transforming the national sentiment to one of excitement.”

Nowlen drew inspiration from this technological history and organized the show based on his research.

“It introduced electricity as a household item to the country and world,” Nowlen said. “From that launch of electricity I got the idea to then jump to the most recent manifestation of the technological revolution which is, of course, computers. From there it was a small leap to decide to present music from video games, which are the intersection of technology and art.”

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, which created Land Grant Universities, including University of California, Nowlen hopes to commemorate the ‘legacy of greatness’ of our university system.

“During our concerts this year, we will be incorporating numerous themes related to this including ‘understanding the past to shape the future’ (this concert), ‘nurturing the inquiring mind,’ ‘inspiring the creative spirit,’ and ‘seeking the truth,’” Nowlen said.

The 55 students of the UCD Concert Band will perform tomorrow, with an additional appearance from the Mira Loma High School Concert Band from Sacramento. The performance is at 7 p.m. at the Mondavi Center, and tickets are $12 for regular admission and $8 for students and children.

CRISTINA FRIES can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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