UCA ensemble to perform April 23 in Carnegie Hall

The University of Central Arkansas Wind Ensemble will make its second appearance at Carnegie Hall at 8 p.m. Monday, April 23, as part of MidAmerica Productions’ 35th annual concert season. 

Under the conducting baton of their Music Director Ricky Brooks, the University of Central Arkansas Wind Ensemble will perform: 

  • CHARLES L. BOOKER: Centra-fuge
  • BOLCOM: TROMBONE CONCERTO (Movements: Blues & Charade)
  • ARTURO MÁRQUEZ: Danzón No. 2, trans. Oliver Nickel
  • BERNSTEIN: Slava! trans. Clare Grundman


“We first performed in Carnegie Hall in 2003, and Mr. Joe Alessi, principal trombonist with the New York Philharmonic, was our guest soloist,” said Brooks. “When we found out we were going to perform again in 2018, we asked Joe if he would like to make a return appearance with us. He was delighted, and we even had him on our campus this past January for a few days as artist-in-residence. He rehearsed with the wind ensemble, and conducted and performed with the trombone ensemble. Joe and the students had a great time interacting and getting to know each other. That makes our performance with him at Carnegie Hall on April 23 even more personal.”

Regarding the UCA Wind Ensemble’s choice of repertoire, Brooks said, “We have selected a fun program for the audience, and one that features some of our students as soloists. We will open with ‘Centra-fuge’ by Charles Booker. It is a high-energy homage to jazz musicians Hank Levy and Don Ellis, friends of Booker while he was a staff arranger and composer for the Airmen of Note, the premiere USAF jazz band. The UCA Wind Ensemble commissioned Booker to write a piece for the 100th anniversary of the university in 2007. At the time, the moniker of the university was ‘UCA – the Center of Learning,’ so he titled his new work ‘Centra-fuge.’ 

“We will feature Mr. Alessi on ‘Trombone Concerto’ by William Bolcom. The band version was finished just this year, and our performance at Carnegie will be the second performance of the band version; the first was the premiere last November. ‘Danzon No. 2’ by Arturo Marquez is a lot of fun for the band and audience, and features some of our students. We wanted a special tune to end the program which had some tie or reference to New York. The students chose to end our concert with Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Slava!’

Concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium/Ronald O. Perelman Stage are $150, $100 and $50. Tickets may be obtained by contacting CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800, visiting the Carnegie Hall Box Office at 57th Street and 7th Avenue in New York or by going to carnegiehall.org

“We’re excited to perform in Carnegie Hall, and are looking forward to several days in New York,” said Brooks. “Performing in a world-class venue is a remarkable opportunity for students and directors. As our music department is becoming an All-Steinway department, the UCA Foundation Office has created a shadow trip to New York for parents, university administrators, board of trustees and patrons of the Steinway project. They will attend our concert, tour the Steinway plant, and have other activities in New York.”  

The University of Central Arkansas Band was founded and offered as credit in the 1914 Arkansas Normal School undergraduate bulletin.

From 1958 to present, the UCA Band has experienced only three directors – Homer Brown (1958-79), Russell Langston (1979-1995) and Dr. Ricky Brooks (1995-present). During this 60-year span, the UCA Wind Ensemble has performed for numerous state, regional and national music conventions, the International Wind Band Festival in Vienna and Salzburg, Austria, and the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.