The Call of Carnegie Hall

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Local group, with conductor Art Holton, takes on New York a second time

By Lauren Nelson
Published in the Lodi News-Sentinel, Saturday, April 17, 2010

On April 20, the Delta Winds and Stockton Wind Ensemble, along with members of the Lodi Community Band, will return to the East Coast to perform at Carnegie Hall during the New York International Music Festival.

The group performed at the prestigious venue three years ago, but was asked to return with a complete show. Director of Bands Arthur Holton talks about reaching the top.

Q: When did you find out you would be performing at Carnegie Hall for the second time?

A: We were invited to come back to Carnegie Hall and perform again approximately two years ago. Three years ago, the Delta Winds Performed in Carnegie Hall at a similar festival. The organizers of the festival liked the group so much they extended another invitation to come back to New York. The first time we played we were allowed half a concert, sharing with another group that had been invited to play. This time we were honored with an invitation to perform for the entire evening.

Because of this we are not only bringing the Delta Winds back but have formed a special, audition only group, we are calling the Stockton Wind Ensemble. This group has many of the finest professional musicians, educators and outstanding amateur players that are available in the greater San Joaquin County Area. All the people traveling have worked very hard on this trip. Almost half of them are in my Delta College Symphonic Band. This means they are daytime students, fresh out of high school and doing music for fun or majoring in music at Delta. Both the students and the adults traveling have spent their own money to make this trip work.

Q: How many musicians will be going with the local group?

A: There are about 50 with the Stockton Wind Ensemble. The Delta Winds is going to start the ensemble with almost 100 people.

Q: What else do you plan to do while in New York?

A: There is going to be quite a bit of free time. I know a lot of the group is planning to go see shows. I’m personally going to see “West Side Story.” People are going to have a good time.

Q: Why is Carnegie Hall such a big deal?

A: It’s the single most prestigious place that a musician in the United States can play. . . . When I’m dressing in my dressing room as the conductor, I’m seeing the photos signed of all the artists that have been there. Artists like Leonard Bernstein, Leopold Stokowski and so many more.

Q: Why is Carnegie Hall special for you as a conductor?

A: It’s the most challenging for me because you want to be at your absolute best and you want your group to be at their absolute best.

Q: What would be bigger than this?

A: Nothing. I’ve been to Europe with bands and I’ve been all over the world (performing). Carnegie Hall is where it stops, as far as getting to the top performing venue as a musician.

Q: What are you favorite types of songs to play?

A: I don’t have many favorite pieces of music. The concert band can and will play a great variety of music in New York, from serious multi-movement works to ragtime Jazz.

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