PUBLISHED: 4:50 PM on Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Juneau Symphony ends season with Summer Spectacular concert
The Juneau Symphony celebrates its final concert of the 2006-07 season with the upcoming Summer Spectacular. The event takes place on Saturday, June 9 at the Juneau Douglas High School auditorium beginning at 8 p.m.

"We do an annual pop concert, which is a lighter classical affair," said Juneau Symphony music director and conductor, Kyle Wiley Pickett.

Along with toe-tapping favorites from Broadway and the silver screen are two pieces including "Made in America," composed by renown American artist Joan Tower and "Guilmant Morceau Symphonique" featuring a solo by Jack Hodges, trombone.

Joan Tower is hailed as "one of the most successful woman composers of all time," by the "New Yorker" magazine with a career spanning over five decades. She was the first woman ever to receive the Grawemeyer Award in composition in 1990.

Her music is known for its bold and energetic sounds. Famous works include "Purple Rhapsody," "Concerto for Orchestra" and "Tambor."

The overture "Made in America," has a surprising beginning.

"We were approached a couple years ago by the Ford Made in America Foundation," Pickett said. The foundation is a commissioning program, collaborating with the American Symphony Orchestra League and Meet the Composer.

Juneau Symphony joined a consortium of regional orchestras throughout the United States and contributed money, commissioning Joan Tower to write a new piece.

It's the first project of its kind to involve smaller budget orchestras as commissioning agents of a new work by a major composer, according to sources.

"This is one of the last performances on this cycle-in this incredible journey," Tower said.

"Made in America" has been performed by 70 orchestras in 50 states, and Tower went to 20 performances, conducting eight total.

Pickett will be conducting the piece in place of Tower.

"It's amazing seeing what these small communities can do," she said.

"There's a dedication in these orchestras, they just love being in the orchestra. There's a spirit (that's) just very nourishing."

The piece is based on the song, "America the Beautiful," and runs 14 minutes long.

If this piece is going to travel so wide-I wanted something people could relate to, she said.

"Sometimes it's very tender, very big an sometimes (it's) very emotional," Tower said.

I'm happy that every orchestra has been able to play it, she said.

"We get to perform the piece before anyone else," Pickett said.

It's a lively, contemplative piece, he said.

"She chose to do it on the theme of 'America the Beautiful,' it's hidden in the piece and not completely apparent," Picket said.

"It's a pretty neat peace; it should be a lot of fun and kids will really like it," Pickett said.

The French score, "Guilmant Morceau Symphonique," features solo trombone player, Jack Hodges, who joined the Juneau Symphony forty years ago, making him the longest tenured performer.

"We're celebrating his 40th year by having him play a piece," said Pickett.

Hodges has been taking lessons since he was young, and picked up tricks from an Army band solo trombonist.

In 1966, his family moved to Juneau, and in that same year he joined the brass section of the Juneau Symphony as a high school sophomore.

"I didn't pursue music as a profession but played off and on through the years," Hodges said.

It showcases what the trombone can do; the trombone is a beautiful, mellow sounding instrument-the piece really reflects that, Pickett said.

"I like to share what a trombone sounds like to people-I think it's great," Hodges said.

"We're happy to have him play," Pickett said.

In addition to the pieces by Tower and Guilmant, the Juneau Symphony will perform Suppe "Light Cavalry Overture," Strauss "Blue Danube Waltz and Radetzky March" and Shostakovich "Jazz Suite No.2."

Ticket information:

Advanced tickets are available at Hearthside Books and online at Advanced ticket prices are $20 general admission, $15 student/senior. At the door ticket prices are $22 general admission, $17 student/senior.

For more information call 586-4676.