“Rhapsody in Blue” Concert featured pianist Rich Ridenour

The First Coast Wind Ensemble launched its 22nd season with triumphant success on October 1, 2011 at the beautiful Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts at St. Johns River State College in Orange Park, Florida. The capacity crowd of about 1,250 enjoyed a wonderful evening of wind band classics and “suite treats!”

The program featured guest pianist Rich Ridenour performing one of the most popular works in the concert repertoire, George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” Ridenour has built a formidable career performing concerts of great piano favorites ranging from classical masterworks to American ragtime, jazz and rock & roll. He also performed two of his own arrangements with the FCWE, the samba “Brazil” by Ary Barroso and Billy Joel’s “Root Beer Rag.” The audience loved his terrific technique and entertaining presentation! More at www.richridenour.com

Conductor Artie Clifton led the ensemble in several musical treats, including the lovely “English Folk Song Suite” by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Robert Sheldon’s popular suite “A Longford Legend.” Percy Grainger’s quirky and delightful “Children’s March” was included as well as the speedy barnburner “Storm and Sunshine” by march composer John Clifford Heed. Other selections included music by Saucedo, Hodges and Wagner.