Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble to Commemorate the Centennial Celebration of WWI Armistice

The Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the World War I Armistice, the truce that ended hostilities, with a concert this fall. The free performance, entitled Heroic Journeys, will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 18 , 2018, at First Presbyterian Church of Arlington Heights (302 N. Dunton Ave., Arlington Heights, IL).

Unique in the Chicago area, the professional ensemble of brass quintet and pipe organ will showcase recent works and arrangements it commissioned for its unusual array of instruments, including percussion.

​The concert will open with French composer Charles Marie-Widor’s Salvum fac populum tuum (“Lord, save thy people”), Op. 84, written during World War I. Johannes Brahms’s “Blessed are they that mourn,” from A German Requiem, will be heard in an arrangement by Craig Garner.

In a tribute to heroes of the space program, the Gargoyle ensemble will present Imaginary Journeys, written for it by composer Mark Lathan, a native of Arlington Heights currently living Bartlett, IL. It takes listeners on a rocket-powered interstellar adventure, inspired by recent astronomical discoveries. “For this piece,” Lathan says, “I wanted to bring in some drama, somewhat in the manner of a film score.” Lathan earned a doctorate in music from the University of California at Los Angeles, where he received the Henry Mancini Award in Film Composition and studied film scoring with Jerry Goldsmith.

The ensemble will play Garner’s brass and organ arrangement of Igor Stravinsky’s ever-popular Suite from The Firebird, a ballet based on a Russian legend about a heroic prince who rescues a princess from an evil sorcerer. “The audience will hear an all-time favorite orchestral work like they’ve never heard it before,” says Rodney Holmes, founder and artistic director of the Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble.

​Other imaginative works include David Marlatt’s Earthscape, from the Gargoyles’ critically acclaimed debut album Flourishes, Tales, and Symphonies, as well as pipe-organ versions of Clair de lune (Moonlight) by Claude Debussy and Louis Vierne.

Concertgoers will hear Short Fuse for brass, organ, and percussion by Chris Reyman, a jazz performance specialist teaching at the University of Texas at El Paso. Holmes says, “This piece shows off a very different face of what a pipe organ and brass can do.” 

For Baroque-music lovers, the program offers Garner’s two-part instrumental suite from 17th-century English composer Henry Purcell’s Come Ye Sons of Art, a tribute to Queen Mary on her birthday in 1694.

​For information about the upcoming concert, or about the Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble’s 2018-2019 season, call (847) 255-5900 or visit gargoylebrass.com.

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Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble (photo courtesy of the Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble).

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