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Northwinds Premieres new symphonic pieces
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Northwinds Symphonic Band
‘American Premieres’
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Riverside Military Academy, 2001 Riverside Drive, Gainesville
How much: $15 adults, $10 seniors, $5 students

When: 3 p.m. March 7
Where: Sautee Nacoochee Center, Ga. 255 N, Sautee
How much: $10 for SNCA members, $15 for nonmembers, $5 for kids 6-12, younger than 6 free; lunch is available for $8
More info: 706-878-3300

An established composer and an up-and-comer will join forces this weekend and next, as the Northwinds Symphony premieres two new commissioned pieces for area audiences.

On Saturday, the band will perform at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville. Then, the following weekend the group will perform at the Sautee Nacoochee center in Sautee.

“Switchback,” a composition commissioned by the Northwinds Symphonic Band, was written by experienced musician Charles Booker Jr.

A former conductor of the U.S. Army’s Jazz Ambassadors in Washington D.C., Booker has toured extensively with the band and since his retirement has served as band director at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. He also teaches composition and arranging at the school. His piece is a “musical depiction of a speeding car traveling through the mountains of North Georgia, occasionally slowing down to view a beautiful vista, then speeding toward the finish line,” according to Northwinds director Ron Evans.

Also premiering at the concerts is “Hoopla,” a piece by William Pitts, a young composer from Carrollton who has Gainesville ties. Pitts’ mother and her siblings played in the Johnson High School band under the direction of Evans, and Pitts’ grandparents, Marge and Reuben Black, are from Gainesville. This pieces was also commissioned by the Northwinds Symphonic Band.

Pitts is a graduate of Emory and served as conductor of the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps. He now teaches at Collins Hill High School in Gwinnett County. “Hoopla,” Evans said, “is a celebration of personal victories and accomplishments in his life, which made for rewarding experiences.”

The concert will also feature other genres of music, including marches, suites, overtures and novelties.

Members of Northwinds include active and retired band directors, music teachers, college students, professional players and a few musicians who work outside the field of music.

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