Concert debuts band’s new director

Van Vickle

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 11.48.30 AMLA GRANDE — The Community Symphonic Band, sponsored by Art Center East, will hold its first performance of the 2017-2018 Season on Nov. 27.

The concert will debut Keith Van Vickle as the band’s director. Van Vickle is a retired music educator who is passionate about sharing music.

“Music performance is a lifelong activity,” he said. “And I am happy to be able to help this community experience it in a multigenerational setting.”

Born and raised in the Willamette Valley, Van Vickle attended Clackamas Community College and studied saxophone performance and Jazz techniques with Bud Walters and Leroy Anderson.

He moved to the Grande Ronde Valley in the late 1970s and completed his bachelor’s degree in education in 1980. He later obtained his master’s degree in music education from Portland State University.

Van Vickle taught music in Imbler for nearly two decades and band and choir at La Grande Middle School for 13 years. He is currently retired and substitutes in area schools.

The Nov. 27 concert will include a variety of symphonic music, such as “Invercargill March,” written by Alex Lithgow in 1901. “Invercargill March” is perhaps one of the most widely-recognized pieces of marching music, as it is a favorite of the U.S. Marines and was the Regimental March of the 56th Infantry Regiment of the New York Guard during World War II.

Thanks to a long-standing partnership between Art Center East and Eastern Oregon University, college students can participate in the Community Symphonic Band for credit, while affording local musicians the opportunity to pursue their own musical interest. The result is a nice mixture of 40-50 college and high school students and community members from the tri-County area (Union, Baker and Wallowa).

The fall concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 27 at McKenzie Theater in Loso Hall on the EOU campus. All concerts performed by Art Center East’s community-ensemble groups are free and open to the public. Donations are always appreciated.

The band rehearses once a week and then performs fall, winter and spring concerts. The Community Symphonic Band is supported with funding provided by its band members and is also sponsored by Art Center East.

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