Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

September 23, 2005

Whitworth Wind Symphony and Jazz Combo
Invited to Perform at State Conference

The Whitworth Wind Symphony and the Whitworth Jazz Combo were invited to perform at the Washington Music Educators All State Conference, which will take place in Yakima on Feb.19. The Whitworth Wind Symphony was the only college/university ensemble from Washington state that was invited to the conference, which takes place every other year.

"Just about every band and choir director in the state of Washington - grade school, middle school, and high school - attend the conference, and they go to sessions on a wide variety of topics designed to strengthen their teaching," says Whitworth Professor of Music and Department Chair Dan Keberle.

The Whitworth Wind Symphony was selected based on recordings of its performances last year. While the wind symphony has performed twice at the Music Educators All Northwest Conference and at the College Band Directors' National Association Conference, this is the symphony's first invitation to perform at the state conference.

The wind symphony's WMEA program will include selections from its fall 2005 concert, which will take place Sunday, Nov. 20, at 4 p.m. in Cowles Auditorium at Whitworth College. Admission is free.

"The program will feature great - though relatively unknown - works for winds and percussion by important American and British composers, including Nancy Galbraith, Cindy McTee, Stella Sung, and Libby Larsen," says Richard Strauch, associate professor of music and director of the Whitworth Wind Symphony.

The jazz combo includes sophomore Steve Sibson on tenor sax, junior Greg Hoff on trombone, sophomore Nathaniel Ankeny on alto sax, senior Liz Pempe on bass, junior Seth Ahnert on drums, and senior Mark Stevens on piano. The group was also selected by blind audition based upon a jazz-band recording. WMEA conference officials had planned to not have guest jazz bands perform at the conference, but invited Whitworth's jazz combo to perform based on the talents of the band's soloists.

In addition to the Whitworth Wind Symphony and Jazz Combo performing at the conference, Keberle and Associate Professor of Music Brent Edstrom will present sessions related to jazz improvisation. Keberle's presentation will focus on pedagogical techniques for teaching improvisation to intermediate jazz students who have mastered the blues scale, which is the beginning step of jazz studies. Edstrom's presentation will focus on ear-training exercises that he has developed to help young jazz students recognize and incorporate jazz chords and scales more accurately and easily.

The Whitworth Wind Symphony tours every other year, and recent tours have taken the ensemble to Seattle, San Francisco, southern California, and Hawaii. The wind symphony has also recorded and released three CDs, In the Spring (1998), New Century Dawn (2000), and Ride (2004). All are available for purchase in the music office and at the Whitworth College Bookstore.

The Whitworth Wind Symphony specializes in the performance of outstanding traditional and contemporary literature for concert band and wind ensemble, and presents several concerts on and off campus throughout the year. The wind symphony has been recognized as one of the outstanding college bands in the region, and has appeared in concert at the 1999 and 2001 All-Northwest MENC conventions, and at the 2002 College Band Directors National Association Western/ Northwestern Regional Conference.

Whitworth's five student jazz combos practice weekly and are coached by Whitworth jazz professors Brent Edstrom, Brian Ploeger, and Daniel Cox. The combos perform on campus each semester as well as at off-campus engagements.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Richard Strauch, associate professor of music, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4587 or rstrauch@whitworth.edu.

Daniel Keberle, professor of music and department chair, Whitworth College, (509) 777- 4582 or dkeberle@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information officer, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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