The 2017 ABA Convention will host a number of concerts at the beautiful Singletary Center for the Arts on the campus of the University of Kentucky.  The following outstanding ensembles are scheduled to perform:

Wednesday, March 8

Dobyns-Bennett High School Wind Symphony, Lafe Cook – Conductor


Lafe Cook has been a high school band director for twenty-one years years and is in his seventeenth year as the Director of the Dobyns-Bennett Band Program. Under his direction, the Dobyns-Bennett Band has experienced tremendous growth, increasing from 180 to over 300 musicians. The Dobyns-Bennett Symphonic Band has performed at numerous conventions including the College Band Directors National Association and National Band Association Southern Regional Convention in 2002, the Tennessee Music Education Association Conference in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012, the Bands of America’s National Concert Band Festival in 2006 and the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Convention in 2002 and 2009. Our band program was the recipient of the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s 2004 Sudler Flag of Honor Award.

Mr. Cook is a four-time recipient of the National Band Associations’ Citation of Excellence and has been honored by the John Philip Sousa Foundation as a Sudler Flag of Honor Laureate. He was named “Aide de Camp” to the Governor of the State of Tennessee in 2005. His professional and honorary affiliations include the National Band Association, Tennessee Music Education Association, East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association, National Education Association, Phi Beta Mu and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Mr. Cook was inducted into the prestigious American Bandmasters Association in 2009.

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University of Kentucky Wind Symphony, Dr. Cody Birdwell – Conductor

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The University of Kentucky Wind Symphony consists of the finest wind and percussion graduate and undergraduate students in the nationally recognized UK School of Music. As the centerpiece of a band program that has served the Commonwealth of Kentucky for over 100 years, the Wind Symphony continues a rich tradition of performing the finest traditional and contemporary compositions in the concert band / chamber winds repertoire.

The UK Wind Symphony has been invited to perform at many of the most prestigious events in the college band profession, including recent appearances at the College Band Directors National Association National Conferences at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro, University of Minnesota, and the University of Georgia.  The Wind Symphony has also been recently invited to perform at the CBDNA Southern Division Conferences in Nashville, Tennessee, and Oxford, Mississippi, and at the annual conference of the Kentucky Music Educator’s Association, held annually in Louisville.

In 2008, the Wind Symphony traveled to the People’s Republic of China and performed for thousands of Chinese citizens in person and via broadcast during a ten-day concert tour of several of China’s most prominent cities and highly recognized concert venues.

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Thursday, March 9

University of Louisville Wind Ensemble – Dr. Fred Speck, Conductor

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Frederick Speck, Director of Bands and Professor of Music, conducts the Wind Symphony and New Music Ensemble, and teaches conducting and composition. Under his leadership, the Wind Symphony has been invited to perform at KMEA Conferences, CBDNA Southern Division Conferences, the MENC National Conference and the CBDNA National Conference. His music has been performed by such ensembles as the Louisville Orchestra, the Denver Symphony and Speculum Musicae, and recorded by such artists as Richard Stoltzman. Twice the recipient of the University of Louisville President’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity, his work has also been recognized the through fellowships and commissions from such organizations as the Barlow Endowment, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Indiana Arts Commission, and the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts. He holds the B.M. and M.M. from Bowling Green State University and the D.M.A. from the University of Maryland.

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The Ohio State University Wind Symphony, Dr. Russell Mikkelson

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Conducted by Dr. Russel Mikkelson, The Ohio State University Wind Symphony is widely recognized as one of the country’s elite wind bands. Its membership comprises the most accomplished brass, woodwind and percussion musicians in the School of Music. Committed to the creation of new music for winds, this ensemble has commissioned music by composers including William Bolcom, Aaron Jay Kernis, David Maslanka, Eric Stokes, Dan Welcher, David Gillingham, John Stevens, Donald Crockett, Daniel Godfrey, Charles Rochester Young, Robert Beaser, and many others.

One of the goals of the Wind Symphony is to provide students the opportunity to interact with some of the leading composers and musical minds of our time. Visitors have included such notable musicians as John Corigliano, Lukas Foss, Krzysztof Penderecki, Gunther Schuller, Joseph Schwantner, Jennifer Higdon, Frank Ticheli, Augusta Read Thomas, John Mackey, John Stevens, Steven Bryant, David Gillingham, Jonathan Newman, Roger Cichy and Percy Grainger’s biographer John Bird. Graduates of the Wind Symphony hold positions as professional orchestral musicians, soloists, conductors, members of the Washington-based military bands, university professors, and some of the world’s leading music educators.

 Since 2000 the Wind Symphony has recorded five compact discs including Rest (Naxos 2012), Southern Harmony (Naxos 2009),  Winds of Nagual(Naxos 2007), Jubilare! (Mark Records 2003), and Sounds, Shapes and Symbols (Mark Records 2001). The Wind Symphony has performed at the 2003 College Band Directors National Association Convention, the Ohio Music Educators Association Conference six times (2001, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2013), with BalletMet Columbus (2003, 2011), and presents numerous performances both on and off campus.

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Friday, March 10

United States Marine Band “The President’s Own”

Colonel Jason K. Fettig – Conductor


Lieutenant Colonel Jason K. Fettig is the 28th Director of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. He joined in 1997 as a clarinetist and soon became a frequently featured soloist with both the band and the Marine Chamber Orchestra. After serving four years in the organization, he was select­ed as an Assistant Director, and he conducted his first concert with the Marine Band Aug. 1, 2001. He was commissioned a first lieutenant in July 2002, promot­ed to captain in August 2003, and became the band’s Executive Officer the following year. He was promot­ed to major in August 2007 and to his present rank in July 2014, one week before assuming leadership of “The President’s Own.”

As Director, Lt. Col. Fettig is the music adviser to the White House and regularly conducts the Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra at the Execu­tive Mansion and at all Presidential Inaugurations. He also serves as music director of Washington, D.C.’s historic Gridiron Club, a position held by ev­ery Marine Band Director since John Philip Sousa. In his first years as Director, Lt. Col. Fettig has led the band for numerous major national events both at the White House and throughout the country. He conducted national broadcast performances for the 200th Anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner at Ft. McHenry in Baltimore, a special Veterans Day performance with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Salt Lake City, and an appearance on the David Letterman Show at the invitation of Michelle Obama in New York. He leads frequent concerts throughout the Washington, D.C., area and across the country during the band’s annual national tour. Live performances by the Marine Band under his direction are often heard on National Public Radio. Lt. Col. Fettig is a fervent advocate for both traditional and contemporary American music and remains dedicated to the ongoing development of music for wind band. In recent years, he has conducted world premières of substantial new works by James Stephenson, Jacob Bancks, David Rakowski, Adam Schoenberg, David Conte, and Narong Prangcharoen.

Throughout his career with the Marine Band, Lt. Col. Fettig has been deeply committed to music education and has taken an active role in the evolution and expansion of the many educational initiatives of “The Presi­dent’s Own.” In addition to helping refine the Music in the Schools and Music in the High Schools programs, he has made it a priority to maintain a significant presence in schools throughout the nation during the band’s national concert tours. He also began an interactive and theatrical Young People’s Concert series in 2006 and authored, hosted, and conducted this popular annual event until 2015. In 2014, shortly after assuming com­mand of the Marine Band, Lt. Col. Fettig launched an ambitious project to re-record all of the marches of John Philip Sousa and provide free performance and educational materials online to schools throughout the world.

Lt. Col. Fettig is a 1993 graduate of Manchester Central High School in New Hampshire and holds two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass) in both clarinet performance (1997) and music education with an emphasis in conducting (1998). In 2005, he earned a master’s degree in orchestral conducting at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) where he served as assistant conductor for two productions of the Maryland Opera Studio. He studied clarinet with Michael Sussman and David Martins, and his principal conducting teachers were Malcolm W. Rowell and James Ross. Additionally, Lt. Col. Fettig has par­ticipated in workshops with several renowned conductors including Osmo Vänskä and Otto Werner Mueller.

Lt. Col. Fettig has represented the Marine Band on numerous occasions as a soloist, adjudicator, and clini­cian, and regularly conducts both concert bands and orchestras for all-state and honor festivals. In 2014, he was elected as a member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association.

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