Farmington High band director will be spotlighted

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FARMINGTON — Symphony performances are, by their nature, a musical event that focuses on the whole rather than the singular. But that isn't stopping San Juan College music professor Teun Fetz from being especially excited about the role of his friend Chris Argotsinger in Friday's performance by the college's Symphonic Band.

Fetz serves as the conductor for the concert, which takes place at 7 p.m. in the Henderson Fine Arts Center Performance Hall on the college campus, 4601 College Blvd. in Farmington, as part of the Silhouette Series. Argotsinger, the band director at Farmington High School, will deliver a trombone solo during a performance of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Concerto for Trombone and Military Band."

While going through the school's music library last spring, Fetz came across the piece and quickly decided to approach Argotsinger about performing it with the symphony. The two met when Fetz joined the college faculty a couple of years ago and began attending New Mexico Music Educators Association meetings, an organization for which Argotsinger served as the president of the Northwest District.

"Chris is a great, talented trombonist," Fetz said, noting that the two became friends after that initial meeting and now perform together in the San Juan Symphony. He said Argotsinger has been very supportive of the idea of his graduates going on to perform with the San Juan College Symphonic Band, as two of his former students are part of the group that will perform this weekend.

 

"It's always great for me to feature local artists," Fetz said of the soloist role in symphony concerts. "That collaboration and collective group approach is really effective. We both find a lot of pleasure and enjoyment in performing together and putting the show on."

Fetz said the Rimsky-Korsakov piece is a three-movement work that he described as "a classic warhorse piece from the 1800s." Fetz said the tune plays to Argotsinger's strengths as a trombonist.

"He plays it really well," Fetz said.

Friday's program will consist of 10 pieces performed by the orchestra, which will feature approximately 45 San Juan College students, high school students and community members. Fetz said he aimed for a musical lineup that offers a good mix of styles and composers.

The concert will feature "Basque Lullaby" and "Good Night, Dear Heart" by Dan Forrest, both of which were composed originally for choir and orchestrated for band, he said. He described the former as "a lovely little tune."

"Funiculi, Funicula" by Denza and Alfred Reed is a 19th century Italian folk song that probably is the most widely recognized tune the symphony will perform, Fetz said.

 

"It bounces around and has a real nice lyrical melody to it," he said.

Also on the program are "Con Brio March" by Ralph Ford, "Finding a Way" by Chris Bernotas, "Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song" and "For Heaven and the Future" by Samuel Hazo, "The Fate of the Gods" by Steven Reineke and "Lassus Trombone" by Henry Fillmore.

Fetz said the two Hazo works are great modern symphonic band pieces, with "Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song" relating the tale of a Japanese woman torn between joining her love in a journey to America or remaining with her family in her homeland.

"It's got a lot of intense moments in it," he said.

"The Fate of the Gods" will close the program and is an appropriate choice for that honor, Fetz said.

"It's one of my favorites," he said. "It finishes with a flourish, and the band likes to play it."

Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors at sanjuancollege.edu/silhouette. Call 505-566-3430.

Mike Easterling is the night editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.

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