Department of Music

Program Notes: Wind Symphony & Percussion Ensemble - 04/22/2022

Program annotations for the Brown University Wind Symphony & Percussion Ensemble's performance on Friday, April 22, 2022 in Grant Recital Hall.

Percussion Ensemble

Fidget (2015) by Nathan Daughtrey (b.1975)

Wind Symphony

Jupiter from The Planets (1924) by Gustav Holst (1874-1934)

Sails Of Time (2006) by David Gillingham (b.1947)

Symphony No. 2 (1972) by John Barnes Chance (1932-1972)

I. Allegro Energico
II. Elevato
III. Slancio

About the Program

Featuring a balanced ensemble of 4 keyboard and 4 battery percussionists, Fidget borrows a rhythm from the agogo bell/cowbell part in my popular percussion quintet Shock Factor. While the rhythm is only fleeting in the original work, it has stuck with me since I wrote the piece 10 years ago. Set in 4/4 time, it has a twitchy/fidgety/stuttering feel to me that starts and restarts, stumbling over itself in its brief two-bar duration.

figure from the score of Fidget

Portions of this motive appear throughout the piece – sometimes as the focal point and sometimes as an accompanimental figure. Regardless, the piece features driving rhythms and memorable melodies from beginning to end.

- Nathan Daughtrey


Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity - The most massive of the planets, possessing twelve satellites (one of them larger than the planet Mercury), named for the light‑bringer, the rain‑god, the god of thunderbolts, of the grape and the tasting of the new wine, of oaths, treaties, and contracts, and from whom we take the word “jovial.” “Jupiter,” says Noel Tyl, “symbolizes expansiveness, scope of enthusiasm, knowledge, honor, and opportunity . . . [and] corresponds to fortune, inheritance, bonanza.” Holst gives us an unmistakably English Jupiter. In 1921 Holst took the big tune in the middle and set to it as a unison song with orchestra the words, “I vow to thee, my country.”

Gustav Holst’s father was a piano teacher whose grandfather had once taught the harp to the Imperial Grand Duchesses in Saint Petersburg, and had emigrated to England from Riga. Gustav’s mother, a sweet lady whose jumpy nerves were upset by music, died young, and Gustav and his brother, Emil Gottfried (later a successful actor under the name of Ernest Cossart), were brought up by their Aunt Nina, who had strewn rose petals for Franz Liszt to walk on. Gustav inherited his mother’s overstrung nerves, and later in life he was several times near mental collapse. He was a timid child, so nearsighted that as a grown man he could not, even when wearing spectacles, recognize members of his own family at six yards. His nights alternated between insomnia and nightmares. Much of his life he suffered from neuritis so severe that he had to dictate some of his music, including portions of the densely intricate score of The Planets. He played violin and keyboards as a boy, but the neuritis put a stop to both, and other than occasional conducting, his last activity as a performer was as trombone player in the Scottish Orchestra and with the Carl Rosa Opera Company from 1898 until 1903.

He studied composition at the Royal College of Music, London, with Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, and it was as a composer and teacher that he really found himself. He taught most of his adult life, at the James Allen and Saint Paul’s schools for girls, at Morley College for Working Men and Women, and briefly in 1932 at Harvard. He kept the association with Saint Paul’s until his death—the alumnae used to identify themselves to him by naming the Bach cantatas they had sung under his direction—and it was there that he worked on The Planets, in the soundproof room of the new music wing opened in 1913, a paradise where he could be undisturbed and indulge in the near‑crematorial indoor temperatures he favored.

There was more to his heaven and earth than what he inherited from his Swedish and English ancestors or what he had learned at the Royal College. In his twenties, he became deeply involved in Indian philosophy and religion, and he taught himself Sanskrit to make his own translations of the Rig Veda. Between 1908 and 1912 he composed four sets of hymns from those ancient books of knowledge, and his most moving achievement is the opera Savitri, based on an incident in the fourth‑century epic Mahabharata.

Sometime after the turn of the century, Holst came into the thrall of astrology. He was reluctant to speak of this, though he admitted that casting horoscopes for his friends was his “pet vice.” The Planets is an astrological work. “As a rule I only study things that suggest music to me,” Holst once wrote, “recently the character of each planet suggested lots to me.”

- Michael Steinberg

Sails of Time was commissioned by Kingsway International and was written to celebrate the rich history of Sydney, Australia, and to honor the beauty of grandeur of this magnificent city identified by the icon of the sails of its famous Opera House.

The work is bound together by two main melodic ideas consisting of the Australian folksong, Click Go the Shears, and an original theme, Sails of Time, after the title. The work begins with the tolling of the "bells of time" followed by a drone of the "didgeridoo" played by the tubas, representing the indigenous aboriginal people who fished the waters of the Sydney harbor for 50,000 years prior to its settlement. Above the drone, a distant solo piccolo and muted trumpet play phrases from the popular Australian folksong, Click Go the Shears. Woodwind trills along with a piano ostinato announce the arrival of British convicts in 1788. Low brass and woodwinds play the folksong, Bound for South Australia, ominously in Bb minor. This is followed by a "Prisoner Walk", emulating the monotonous daily routine of the prisoners who were the first inhabitants of Sydney. They sing a blues-like tune to break the monotony as they shuffle along in shackled feet. (Listen for the constant clash of the chain.) The section escalates to a conclusion and segues into gentle breezes of keyboard percussion and rustling flutes leading to the first presentation of the Sails of Time theme played by horns, alto saxophones and oboes. The theme represents the hope for a much brighter future for the fledgling settlement of Sydney. The section settles down to stillness and a distant piccolo and muted trumpet again play motives from Click Go the Shears.

A vibrant percussive interlude leads to a presentation of Click Go the Shears by piccolo and bass clarinet followed by echoing of motives within the band. The "growing pains" of Sydney are reflected by a sequence of motives from the Sails of Time theme which rise to a pinnacle in C major by the massed band only to be interrupted by a mournful section in F# minor. In this section, one is reminded of the "unruly society" in the early years of the city of Sydney. An oboe solo sorrowfully sings the tale on a motive extracted from the Sails of Time. Cascading woodwinds and keyboard percussion interrupt and, once again, provide hope to the negative situation and grow to a fugal exposition on the theme from Click Go the Shears. The sure-footed counterpoint and energy evidence the city's "gold and growth" era. The section segues to a sparkling and energetic percussion interlude which transitions to a joyful rendition of the Sails of Time accompanied by the driving rhythm Click Go the Shears. The "bells of time" interrupt to remind one of the city's roots with the drone of the didgeridoo. Distant solo piccolo and muted trumpet echo motives of Click Go the Shears one last time. The work ends triumphantly with a final statement by both themes.

David R. Gillingham (b. 20 October 1947, Waukesha, Wisc.) earned Bachelor and Master Degrees in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and the Ph.D. in Music Theory/Composition from Michigan State University. His numerous awards include the 1981 DeMoulin Award for Concerto for Bass Trombone and Wind Ensemble and the 1990 International Barlow Competition (Brigham Young University) for Heroes Lost and Fallen.

Currently [2021] Dr. Gillingham is a professor of music at Central Michigan University and the recipient of an Excellence in Teaching Award (1990), a Summer Fellowship (1991), a Research Professorship (1995), and most recently, the President’s Research Investment Fund grant for his co-authorship of a proposal to establish an International Center for New Music at Central Michigan University. He is a member of ASCAP and has been receiving the ASCAP Standard Award for Composers of Concert Music since 1996.

- David R. Gillingham, notes from the publisher, C. Alan publications

Symphony No. 2 for Winds and Percussion is a brilliant and stunning work in three movements, all based upon the four-note motif of C#, D, F and E.

In 1962, John Barnes Chance and Clifton Williams both agreed to write a piece using the four-note motif of C#-D-F-E. When Chance sent a recording of a part of his piece, Williams decided to abandon the project. Chance also shelved the project. Ten years later, while he was teaching at the University of Kentucky, he was commissioned by the Northwest Music Center in North Dakota to write a piece dedicated to the Minot State College Wind Ensemble. He dug up the work he put away ten years ago, and completed this symphony. He died shortly after finishing the piece. He was never able to hear it performed.

Born in Beaumont, Texas in 1932, John Barnes Chance has written several of the most frequently played compositions for secondary school bands today. Remarkably gifted at a young age, Chance premiered his first symphony before his high school graduation. He attended The University of Texas for both undergraduate and graduate degrees, where he studied with the well-known American composer, Clifton Williams. After the completion of his academic training, Chance played timpani for the Austin Symphony Orchestra and completed a tour with the Eighth United States Army Band. Serving in South Korea provided inspiration to write one of his most famous works for band, Variations on a Korean Folk Song. Later in life, Chance joined the faculty of the University of Kentucky, where he served as chair of the theory and composition program. In 1972, Chance’s promising career was cut short when he suffered from cardiac arrest after a tent pole accidentally contacted an electrified fence in his backyard. He died at age 40.

- Program Note from Mansfield University

About the Musicians


Kevin Plouffe


Anna Galer 
Yiyang Xu
Mason Zhang
Grace Marshburn - Piccolo/Flute


Jillian Belluck


Gordon Sherman
Holly Zheng
Jordan Feldman
Mira Echambadi
Erin Morissette
Bryce Gray
Julia Gugulski
Dana Lee

Bass Clarinet

Matthew Rossman
Nathaniel Scott

Alto Saxophone

Jason Crowley
Timothy Chen
Jason Ho
Roshan Parikh
Yongkuan Zhang
Alan Zdon

Tenor Saxophone

Haley Damon
Shane Weiner

Baritone Saxophone

Johann Dizon


Charlie Gagnon
Susan Tang


Nicholas Keirstead
Filip Aubrecht
Shaw Miller


Cedric Sirianni
Olivia Cartaño
William Perry
Victoria Rose
Logan Tullai


Ethan Vivoda-Sadee


Milan Pandey


Tats Daniel
Dawson Phillips
Alexander Zhou
Ethan Upson
Ian Gurland
Ryan Burnett
Zahid Hasan
Anson Shyu

There is no musical institution more imbedded in American history than a concert band. With its strong sense of community and participatory consensus, the Brown University Wind Symphony & Percussion Ensemble reflect the unique ethos of the college itself. Students from very different concentrations—from Engineering to Egyptology—play, conduct, and compose new music for the band, making it one of the most diverse groups in the department. In addition to standard works by Holst, Mozart, and Hindemith, the group performs new pieces written for unique combinations of instruments.

Woonsocket, Rhode Island native, Kevin Plouffe earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Percussion Performance from the New England Conservatory in 1992 and a Master’s Degree in Music Education with an emphasis in conducting from the University of Rhode Island in 1994.  Kevin served sixteen years as band director at Woonsocket High School, where his responsibilities included directing the marching band, concert band, jazz band, and percussion ensembles, as well as serving as the music department representative.  Kevin taught in the Killingly, Connecticut public schools for seven years. He was the band director and jazz band director at Killingly Intermediate School, where he taught band to 175-200 students yearly in grades 6-8. His middle school bands have consistently won awards at local music festivals. He was also the Killingly High School assistant marching band director and drum line instructor. Currently, he is the band director at North Smithfield High School. There he directors the award winning concert band and jazz ensemble.

Kevin Plouffe has been active at Brown University for the last 21 years teaching percussion through the applied music program, coaching the Brown University Wind Symphony Percussion Section, and conducting the Brown University Percussion Ensemble.  He also served as guest conductor of the Brown University Wind Symphony on numerous occasions before assuming the podium for the 2019-2020 academic year.

He is past president of the Rhode Island Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society, a position he held for over ten years.  Kevin is the current vice president/treasurer. He founded the RI-PAS Percussion Ensemble adjudication festival, which has been running annually since 2001, attracting secondary level percussion ensembles and guest artists from throughout southern New England.  He is the founder of the Blackstone Valley High School Jazz Festival at the Stadium Theatre Performing Arts Centre.  His past experience includes, Band Director at Norwood High School, Director of Rhode Island Music Educators’ Association Junior All-State Jazz Ensemble, Director of the Quabbin Valley Middle School Honor Band, Director of the Massachusett Central District Middle School Honor Band, and faculty member at the University of New Hampshire Summer Youth Music School. He has performed with numerous orchestras throughout New England: the RI and Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, the Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra, the Worcester Symphony Orchestra, New Bedford and Plymouth Symphony and Theatre by the Sea to name a few.  Kevin resides in Mapleville, RI with his wife, Diane who is the director of music, an accomplished string teacher and orchestra director, in Franklin, MA, as well as a free-lance violinist, and his two daughters.