Wisconsin Wind Orchestra plays at Tahquitz Arts Center in Hemet

Wisconsin Wind Orchestra
The Wisconsin Wind Orchestra, conductor Lawrence Dale Harper and assistant conductor Jeffrey Krubsack pose for a photo during their special appearance, Sunday, Jan. 26, at the Tahquitz High School Art Center in Hemet. Valley News/Tony Ault photo

Conductor Lawrence Dale Harper tapped the stage floor three times with his decorated walking stick to single the tempo for the 12-member Wisconsin Wind Orchestra to play at their concert opening Sunday, Jan. 26.

It was a rare appearance for the Wisconsin Wind Orchestra at the Tahquitz High School Performing Arts Center in Hemet. The orchestra members played French horns, clarinets, bassoons, piccolos, flutes, oboe and English horn with standout bass player John Babbitt.

Harper began the evening with “Marche pour la Cérémonie des Turcs” by composer Jean Baptiste Lully from “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme.”

Harper continued with a suite from George Frederic Handel’s “Water Music” in five separate dance movements, and each set brought applause from the audience.

The orchestra played pieces from “Seven Dances” by Jean Francaix from the ballet “Le Malheurs de Sophie.”

Following an intermission, Harper led the orchestra in the Overture to “The Magic Flute” by composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and arranged by Michele Mangani.

Harper introduced assistant conductor Jeffrey Krubsack, who conducted Divertimento for Wind Octet by Svend Schultz with movements “Tarantelle,” “Marcia,” “Pastorale” and “Capriccio.”

Six Romances After Mendelssohn by Stephen Micael Gruc was followed with the March, Op 99 from 1943 by Sergei Prokofiev, arranged by Harper to conclude the performance.

A standing ovation followed and an encore performance ended the evening in honor of the orchestra and conductors, Harper and Krubsack.

The Wisconsin Wind Orchestra travels and performs widely in Europe and the United States and comes to Southern California each January where they performed at the request of the Hemet Concert Association for the first time.

It was the second concert held at the high school sponsored by the Hemet Concert Association, which has been bringing world-class music to the San Jacinto Valley since 1972. Tom Garnella, president of the HCA, thanked the Hemet Unified School District and Tahquitz High School for letting them use the art center for the concerts.

Two more performances are scheduled by the HCA at the art center this spring, as the Kouzov Duo performs March 1 and Fandango is set for April 19. Costs for the concerts are $30 per person with discounts to HCA members. Young people aged 22 or under may attend free, according to the association.

Visit the HCA website at www.hemetconcerts.org for more information or contact Harnella at (951) 927-2449 or at atgarnella@verizon.net.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.