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President to President: A Musical Tribute for President’s Day

Bethlehem, Pa., February 10, 2005—Moravian College president Ervin J. Rokke will narrate “A Lincoln Portrait” on the President’s Day concert by the Moravian College Wind Ensemble.

The Wind Ensemble performs at 8:00 p.m. Friday, February 25, in Foy Hall, under the baton of guest conductor Ronald Demkee. An artist-lecturer in music at the College, Demkee also is conductor of the Allentown Municipal Band. He is directing the wind ensemble and other wind and brass groups this semester while James Barnes, associate professor of music and director of instrumental music, is on sabbatical.

In addition to the “Lincoln Portrait,” the concert features Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Sea Songs” (two marches based on English chanteys, 1923); Alfred Reed’s “Armenian Dances” (based on folk melodies collected by Gomitas Vartebed, 1972-77) and John Philip Sousa’s “Black Horse Troop” (1925).

Aaron Copland’s musical depiction of Abraham Lincoln uses the Gettysburg Address and other speeches of the 16th president: excerpts from his 1862 annual message to Congress (what would now be called the “State of the Union” address) and part of the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debate over slavery.

“A Lincoln Portrait” was composed in 1942, just after the United States entered World War II. Conductor Andre Kostelanetz commissioned “a work to fortify and comfort people during a time of national distress.” It quotes American folk music of the period, including Stephen Foster songs and Civil War ballads.

Tickets to the concert are $6. Information: (610) 861-1650.