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  Dancer Christopher Barksdale (top). Photographer Steve Wilson.
   

Salute
Choreography: William Whitener
Music: Walter M. Smith, Gunther Schuller, Jean-Baptiste Arban, Scott Joplin Cornet, Gerard Schwarz
Costume Design: Lisa Choules
Lighting Design: Kirk Bookman

During William Whitener's research to find music for his new ballet, Salute, he came across a record album in Todd Bolender’s collection called, Turn of the Century Cornet Favorites. He was intrigued by the music and determined it would be a terrific choice for a new ballet to honor Christopher Barksdale at the moment of his retirement from Kansas City Ballet. He hopes to have captured some of Christopher’s wit, regard for classical ballet and joyous spirit with this music.

Only a few decades ago America’s favorite entertainment pastime was the park band concert with the cornet soloist getting top billing. Because the music was generally performed outdoors, the concert featured cornet or trombone since they were most capable of projecting their sound in the poor acoustics of that setting. The program format typically began with a well known overture followed by some operatic transcriptions and sacred pieces, a virtuoso cornet favorite and ended with a rousing Sousa march.

This ballet is set to Walter M. Smith’s Three Kings, a cornet trio; Gunther Schuller’s Interlude, (featuring a tuba cadenza); Jean-Baptiste Arban’s Variations on Norma by Bellini; Gunther Schuller’s Modulatory Interlude which leads to Pleasant Moments by Scott Joplin.

World Premiere: May 7, 2009, Lyric Theatre, Kansas City, Missouri

 

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