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Musical Maneuvers

Local IC music fan funds collaboration between IC and West Point bands.

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Music lover and donor Hank Stark, top right, with (from left) IC Conductor Mark Fonder, West Point conductor Timothy Holton, and Dean Art Ostrander; the bands in rehearsal; West Point hornist Joshua Phillips '03

On a crisp fall day above the Hudson River, the Ithaca College Concert Band immersed itself in the historic and disciplined atmosphere of the United States Military Academy at West Point. The band was there for an exciting collaboration with the West Point Concert Band, rehearsing together for a concert taking place in IC’s Ford Hall on November 15. Led by IC conductor Mark Fonder and West Point’s Timothy J. Holtan, the two bands planned a repertoire that included Strauss’s Allerseelen, Of Home and Country by Eric Ewazen, and Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever.

The idea for the exchange came from local music enthusiast and freelance writer Henry Stark, who has been observing Concert Band rehearsals and interacting with the students for the last few years. A pianist, Stark wanted to better understand ensemble playing, since his instrument is infrequently involved in a large musical group such as a band. He decided to fund the collaboration, providing transportation and meals for the IC students during the rehearsal visit and for the West Point band traveling to Ithaca. “I had the idea at the beginning and wrote the check at the end, but [IC School of Music dean] Art Ostrander and Mark Fonder did the work in between,” says Stark.

Ostrander is quick to credit Stark for suggesting the collaboration. “I am pleased,” he adds, “that our wind and percussion students will get to observe the daily life of professional military musicians in their home setting at West Point, and I look forward to the November joint concert here in Ithaca.”

IC Concert Band trumpeter Bridget Colgan ’07, from Southfields, New York, has attended the West Point Concert Band’sannual July 4th concert— with fireworks over the Hudson—with her family for as long as she canremember. “Last year,” she says, “I told my mom how I wished I was playing with the band instead of watching it. When I found we would be playing with them this year, I was so excited. It’s awesome to play with a band that I have been watching perform for years. I'm glad other students from Ithaca are getting the opportunity to work with such a great band.”

Dean Ostrander is proud that over the years many School of Music graduates have successfully auditioned for spots in the nation’s premier military bands. The West Point band includes clarinetist Diana Cassar-Uhl ’95, hornist Susan Davidson ’91, percussionist Gaspare Cuccia ’94, and hornist Joshua Phillips ’03.

—Erik Kibelsbeck, M.M. ’01

Join Hank Stark and other area residents who appreciate the cultural richness the College and its students, faculty, and staff bring to Ithaca and the surrounding region. By supporting the Ithaca Fund, you too can enable the College to send students on enriching academic and cultural adventures. 

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