USU Alumni Band Honors Bastille Day on the Quad

USU Alumni Band
USU Alumni Band
USU Alumni Band

The Utah State University Alumni Band performs on the Quad Sunday, July 14, at 7 p.m., for Bastille Day. Bastille Day is the common name for the national day of France in English-speaking countries.

The concert includes Suite Française by Milhaud, Hands Across the Sea by Sousa and other selections from ABBA, a nod to Mamma Mia! The cast of Mamma Mia! from the USU Lyric Repertory Company will perform at intermission.

Dennis D. Griffin, conductor and professor emeritus, joins the band to conduct Marche Hongroise from Damnation of Faust by Berlioz.

Griffin moved to Lehi in 2007 and has facilitated performing with the Orchestra at Temple Square and in other venues in and around Salt Lake City. During his time at USU, he taught percussion and directed the Percussion Ensembles for 36 years and the band for 10 years. Griffin has a complete percussion teaching studio in his home. In the Utah Day of Percussion Competition, his students have won many awards and a few have performed with the Utah Symphony in Salute to Youth concerts. He has earned a bachelor’s and master’s from USU and a doctorate from Brigham Young University.

Special guest Reagan Ayres will solo with the band on violin on Meditation from Massenet’s Thais. She began begging her parents for lessons at the age of six and has been playing the violin ever since. Ayres studied with Amy Natzke in Newberg, Oregon, and was a member of the Portland Youth Philharmonic for two years. After graduating high school, she made her way to Logan to attend USU and study with Rebecca McFaul, second violinist of the Fry Street Quartet. Ayres was a Caine Scholar for her whole time at the university and performed as the concertmaster of the USU Symphony Orchestra for two semesters. She graduated in May with a bachelor’s in violin performance.

The Alumni Band is comprised of more than 300 Caine College of the Arts (CCA) alumni who have continued to perform since graduation. Each concert consists of 45-60 musicians, all of whom donate their talents and only have a single rehearsal on the day of the performance to prepare. The personnel changes for each concert depend on musical needs and schedules of band members.

The band is led by music director Nicholas Morrison, executive associate dean and professor of clarinet in the CCA.

This season’s remaining Alumni Band concerts will be held on July 21 and August 4. The July 21 concert is on the USU Quad. The August 4 concert is in the Daines Concert Hall in the Chase Fine Arts Center on USU’s campus. Performances begin at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

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Stuart is the founder, writer and wrangler at several sites including Gastronomic SLC, Utah Now and, The Utah Review; Stuart is a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune and has worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.