Original composition centrepiece of event 200 years in the making

A day of commemorative events celebrating the bicentennial of the 1812 capture of Detroit will include the world premiere of a piece by UWindsor music professor Brent Lee entitled “General Brock in Detroit.”

A brass ensemble will perform the work as part of a free public concert by the Windsor Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, August 25, that will also feature Gustav Holst’s Mars, Bringer of War; excerpts of Antonín Dvořák’s New World symphony and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. The concert begins at 6 p.m. at the Festival Plaza, on Windsor’s riverfront at the foot of Glengarry Avenue.

Dr. Lee describes his newest work, commissioned especially for the occasion, as a fanfare.

“It is fairly emphatic most of the way through, beginning as a conversation between the trumpets and the low brass,” he says. “It ends on a quieter note, reflecting Brock’s death at Queenston Heights a few months after the capture of Detroit.”

But that, he says, is the only biographical note he sounds.

“This is not a programmatic retelling of the battle,” he says. “It’s more about the character of General Brock.”

Lee says his research into the subject helped him to appreciate the relevant local history.

“I didn’t know that much about the battle at all, or the War of 1812,” he says. “It has been interesting for me to read some of the material and discover the significance of the local buildings and family names that date back to that time—families that have been here for centuries.”

The concert is the culmination of a full day of family-friendly activities that begins at 10 a.m. with a march from the Duff Baby House at 221 Mill Street in Old Sandwich Town to the Festival Plaza for 1812-themed games, crafts, art, music and live performances.

The symphony’s program will also feature performances by several singers with UWindsor connections, including fourth-year student Adam Iannetta and alumni Erin Armstrong (BMus 2007) and Jackie Robitaille (BMA 2007).

Among the faculty members in the 61-piece orchestra are violinist Lillian Scheirich, violist Nicholas Penny, cellist Andrew McIntosh, bassist Greg Sheldon, trumpeters Ross Turner and Bob Fazecash, horn player Timothy Lockwood, trombonist Michael Stone, oboist Faith Scholfield, clarinettist Trevor Pittman, bassoonist Eric Varner and percussionists Nicholas Papador  and David Robilliard.

Find a full description of Saturday’s events and some background into the history on the Web site of Windsor’s Community Museum. Watch a video previewing the bicentennial celebration:

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