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This concert features a diverse set of incredibly beautiful and inspiring works for band, centered around Ida Gotkovsky's masterpiece for winds, Poeme du feu ("Poeme of Fire")- an engaging and exciting 2-movement work of mid-century French wind music . For this concert, we're excited to host the Grand Center Arts Academy Symphonic Band as our guest ensemble. They are led by Ms. Stephenie Grasso, who has assembled an engaging program to add to this evening's offerings. 

Thank you for joining us, and we hope you enjoy this music!  

- Dr. David Wacyk 



Above all, Joy is an expression of its namesake: simple, unabashed joy. A boisterous, uninhibited quality is implied in the music, not only at climactic moments, but also by the frequent presence of sudden and dramatic stylistic contrasts. 

The main melody and overall mood of the work were inspired by a signal event: the birth of our first child. The intense feelings that most any father would feel on such a day were, in my case, accompanied by a simple little tune which grabbed hold of me in the hours preceding her birth, and refused to let go throughout the day and many days thereafter. Indeed, until I jotted it down in my sketchbook, it did not release its grip.

Seven years and two children later, I stumbled upon that old sketch and discovered (or rediscovered) that it would serve perfectly as the foundation for a joy-filled concert band overture.

- Program Note by composer

RICHARD SAUCEDO Fanfare for the Third Planet

A dedication to our own planet Earth, this impressive piece features a rhythmic vitality throughout, along with fresh harmonies and skilled orchestral devices. Amid the powerful fanfare-like phrases, a brief calm section is created using the woodwinds and a unique layering effect before building to the dynamic ending. 

- Program Note from publisher


IDA GOTKOVSKY Poeme du feu (poem of fire) 

Fire is a commonality of technological advancement throughout the earliest human societies. Legends on its origin abound, each one conferring a sacred feature; fire is a link between Creature and his Creator. Culture’s curiosity of fire inspired Ida Gotokovsky’s Poème du feu. She is particularly fascinated by the Celtic myth of Zarathustra. During the ceremonies heralding in the new year, men would light two hearths. The first one, which had been watched and honored all year, would be coming to its end, while the second gave birth to the new year. The two fires are represented by the two movements of this work. Gotkovsky writes: 

" The first movement -- Majestuoso -- is a Fire of gigantic proportions, the Spring of life which makes us relive the first moments of creation. The second movement -- Prestissimo -- being at the heart of human achievement, is a power of revelation, an impetuous power which raises man to the level their creator." 

This work is a masterpiece of 20th Century French musical style, in its orchestration and harmonic language (reminiscent of Debusy, Ravel, etc...). Albert Fasce, head of the musical department of the French Army writes:

"The Poème du feu by Madame Ida Gotkovsky is one of the most successful, original compositions for symphonic band in recent years. I have had to conduct this work at concerts with different orchestras, and in particular at Budapest, and each performance was greeted by enthusiastic ovations. Moreover, it is quite rare in contemporary music to achieve, at the same time, the satisfaction of the musicians and success with the public. This magnificent work is written remarkably for wind instruments. There is no major technical difficulty, but the character of this work calls for meticulous placing and a certain orchestral glow."

-Note adapted from the Hartt Wind Ensemble 


The music of Cuba is diverse, electric, transformative, soulful, elegant and energetic. Highly influenced by its African and European roots, Cuban music celebrates the soul and ingenuity of a nation.

Timba sets out to celebrate the rich musical traditions of Cuba, starting and ending in the Bembé style. The work also celebrates the Cuban timba, a genre of music rooting from the son and salsa.

Music unites us, it elevates us. Music liberates us!

The notes above are from the composer, Giovanni Santos. Tonights performance is further elevated by improvisations from UMSL Music professors Matthew Henry (Percussion), and Dawn Weber (Trumpet). 



David Wacyk, Conductor, Music Director 

DR. DAVID WACYK is a conductor and educator dedicated to serving students, the community, and the profession through meaningful music making. David serves as Director of Instrumental Ensembles and Assistant Teaching Professor of Music at University of Missouri- St. Louis where he conducts the UMSL Orchestra, UMSL Wind Ensemble, chamber ensembles, and coordinates the “Triton Sound” Pep band. 


Prior to his arrival at UMSL, David was Director of Instrumental Music at Saint Martin’s University, and previously taught instrumental conducting at Towson University. As a Doctoral student at the University of Maryland he served as Assistant Conductor of the Wind Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. Prior to his Doctoral work, David was Director of Bands at North Harford High School, where he directed instrumental ensembles and taught music theory. 


David's scholarship focuses on modernist and avant-garde wind music of Twentieth-century composers, including Igor Stravinsky,  Edgard Varese, and Ida Gotkovsky. Additionally David has led discussions related to re-evaluating existing systems of concertizing and programming, and addressing systemic inadequacies in the field of wind bands. Recently he has accepted invitations to present at the CBDNA (Symphonies of Winds: toward a new understanding of pitch structure, and The Intelligence of Sound: matters of ethos and style in the wind music of Edgard Varese), IGEB (The Wind Music of Ida Gotkovsky), WMEA (The Future is Flexible: Small bands as leaders in creativity, and DNMC (New Music and New Paradigms: an honest conversation on the future of college ensembles). The Wind Music of Ida Gotkovksy was also presented as a national webinar. In October, David travelled to the Paris Conservatory to present on Gotkovsky's music, and in January David will lead a pre-concert discussion for the SLSO. He has been named a finalist- and awarded second place- for the American Prize in conducting. 

David holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree and Master of Music degree in Conducting from University of Maryland, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Western Michigan University.  David maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States, including as a conductor for the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He resides in Clayton, MO with his wife Laurel, and son Roger.

Joanna Mendoza, Viola 

JOANA MENDOZA, Professor of Viola, and Chair of the Music Department at UMSL, joined the Arianna String Quartet and the music faculty of the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2008.

With the ASQ, Ms. Mendoza regularly performs throughout the U.S. and abroad; most recently at international music festivals in Aguascalientes and Naolinco, Mexico, and Santa Catarina, Brazil. The ASQ can be heard on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today,” and on “Live from Music Mountain,” broadcast to 125 stations in the U.S. and to 35 countries. The Arianna Quartet’s recent recordings of the two Janacek Quartets, and the Early and Middle Beethoven Quartets, all released on Centaur Records, received critical acclaim.

Highly sought-after teachers, the ASQ is regularly invited to colleges and conservatories worldwide including Peabody, Oberlin, University of Houston, Northwestern, and in South Africa at Stellenbosch and University of Pretoria. Additionally, Ms. Mendoza’s students have been accepted in graduate music programs at the Jacobs School of Music at IU, Peabody Institute, Northwestern, DePaul, University of NC-Greensboro, and East Carolina University, and have participated in festivals including Music Academy of the West, Colorado Music Festival, and Madeline Island Chamber Music.

In addition to teaching applied music and chamber music, Ms. Mendoza also teaches music history and co-teaches an interdisciplinary course in the UMSL Pierre Laclede Honors College with UMSL Professor of Chemistry, James Bashkin.

Prior to joining the Arianna Quartet, Ms. Mendoza was a ten-year member of the Harrington String Quartet, featured in the PBS documentary, A Sound Collaboration: The Harrington String Quartet, and recorded a Grammy-nominated album of the works of Daniel McCarthy. She has served on the faculties of West Texas A&M University and the University of Oklahoma.

Ms. Mendoza received her bachelor of music degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied with Richard Blum and Sally Chisholm of the Pro Arte Quartet, and received her master of music degree from the Juilliard School where she was a student of William Lincer and the Juilliard Quartet.

Zachary Cairns, Guest Composer

ZACHARY CAIRNS, Associate Professor of Music, coordinates the music theory curriculum at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He received his Ph.D. in Music Theory from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester (2010), an M.A. in Music Theory (2003), and a B.S. in Music Education (2000) from Penn State University. While at Penn State, he also earned a Performer’s Certificate in Percussion.

Dr. Cairns' research interests involve the modernist music of the Soviet Union during the Khrushchev Thaw, rhythm and meter in rock music, and film music theory. He has presented at numerous international, national, and regional conferences, and his work has been published in Studia musicologica, Music Theory Online, Indiana Theory Review, Gamut, and Music Theory and Analysis. In 2012, he was awarded a grant from the University of Missouri Research Board to conduct research at the Tanyeev Library of the Chaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Russia. And in 2021, he was awarded a campus-level grant to travel to Los Angeles to study film scores at several different libraries and studio archives, to work on a project dealing with the musical depiction of Russian and Soviet "villains" in Hollywood film scores.

As a composer, Dr. Cairns' works have been performed across the United States and in Europe. His work Two Pieces for Baritone Saxophone and Percussion won first prize in the 2014 Percussive Arts Society's Composition Contest. An expanded version of that work, Interactions for Baritone Saxophone and Percussion, was premiered at the World Saxophone Congress (SaxOpen) in Strasbourg, France in July 2015. A work for wind ensemble titled Refracted Moonlight has been performed by numerous collegiate and advanced high school bands across the country. Other works include Rhythmic Ceremonial Ritual for 7 antiphonal tambourines (yes, you read that correctly), The Land of Nod for two-part treble choir with piano, clarinet, violin, and percussion (also available for SATB choir with the same instrumental forces), Concert(in)o for Marimba and Wind Quintet, and Passing Through for alto saxophone and string trio.  Another work, Blumenlieder (for mezzo-soprano, flute, cello, and piano), based on the poetry of St. Louis native Sara Teasdale, was premiered in Stuttgart, Germany in 2018 as part of the American Days festival. Several of Dr. Cairns' works are available for purchase through C. Alan Publications and Carl Fischer. 

Zachary Cairns lives in St. Charles, MO with his wife, Whitney, and their two children.




Katlynn Connor 

Pamela Hereneen

Liah Kahn

Alissa Smith

Caroline Kidwell


Joy Floyd 

Paul Evans


Dave Metzger 

Joseph Hendricks


       Tyler Teague

       Joey Brown

       Sam Brown

       Jeanine York-Garesche*

       Lauren Tremusini 

       Amber Matronia

       Anne Winkler* 

       Laurin Council

       Sara Thompson

       Heather Decker

       Linda Tessereau 

Bass Clarinet

Chris Hollingsworth 

Miguel Oseguera


Alto Saxophone

       Caleb Browne

       Alfredo Deleon

       Dani Strehle

       Odessa Willet 

       Jennifer Roberts


Tenor Saxophone

        Shane Wolz

        Tarick Brisker

       Baritone Saxophone

       Tyler Mcfarland

       Zoe Barron


Sara Mullins 

Bernadetta Newkirk Sommer

Tommy Ahl 

Morra Lawrence

Heidi Abbott


Krishaun Dotson-Orange 

Cristian Fudge

Seth Peters

Abby Pierce

Mark Tessereau

Joshua Veal

Brianna Meyer


Jamie Blaylock

Ryan Scott

George Todd

Patrick Wilke

Caroline Kidwell

David Kreipke


Michael Merritt Jr. 


Nathan Hopkins

Charles Wilkes

Elizabeth Whitmore


Adam Anello*


Rick Breyer

Jacob Brewer

Eric Carranza 

Bailey Kayser

Kaenen Purgahn

Patrick Harris


Megan Stout


Tyler Mcfarland

* UMSL Faculty

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