UW-Parkside Wind Ensemble and Community Band to perform ‘Legacy of John P. Paynter’ tribute October 17

Published: October 7, 2019
By: Dr. Laura Rexroth, UW-Parkside Music

SOMERS – UW-Parkside’s Wind Ensemble and Community Band will perform on Thursday, October 17, at 7 p.m. in Bedford Concert Hall in The Rita. The performance is dubbed ‘The Legacy of John P. Paynter,’ and features selected works associated with the revered Wisconsin conductor and one of the most important figures in American wind bands (either commissioned by, arranged by, or composed). Tickets are $5 for students and seniors, and $10 for general admission.

Wind Ensemble

“Harmony Heaven” by C.L. Barnhouse/arr John P. Paynter
“Sarabande and Polka” by Malcolm Arnold/arr John P. Paynter
“Full Circle” by Ryan George
“The Battle of Shiloh March” by C.L. Barnhouse/arr John P. Paynter

Community Band

“The Trombone King” by Karl King/arr John P. Paynter
“Whatsoever Things” by Mark Camphouse
“Tam O’Shanter Overture” by Malcolm Arnold/arr John P. Paynter

John P. Paynter

John P. Paynter, a native of Mineral Point, WI, received music degrees from Northwestern University in ’50, and ’51. In 1953, he became the Director of Bands at Northwestern at age 23. The second of only three band directors in the University’s history, he held the post for more than 40 years and went on to become a beloved professor in the Bienen School of Music, where he taught music arranging and conducting to thousands of students. Paynter died in February 1996.

Paynter was conductor and founder of the renowned Northshore Concert Band and helped organize community bands across the country. He served as President of numerous national and international associations for bands and band music, including 13 years as President of the Board of the Mid-West Clinic in Chicago – and annual conference that draws thousands of band and orchestra conductors, music educators, and music students.

Conductor Laura Rexroth says, “Mr. Paynter was one of those ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ mentors for me. As a lovingly direct taskmaster, he gave me the gifts of intense focus, technical music knowledge, and the ultimate importance of the beauty of a musically satisfying performance. In my work at Parkside, I am so happy I can combine two of his favorite aspects of being a professional musician, which have become mine as well; teaching students and conducting a community band.”

“Mr. Paynter was a huge advocate of community music – he thought music is a lifelong avocation. The adults I’m privileged to work with each Thursday night prove this is true, every single week.”

“And, my favorite Paynter quote is - “Know your stuff. Know who you’re stuffing. Stuff ‘em!” - words I live by whether I’m teaching a student who intends to join the profession, one who loves music and will hopefully continue that connection as they work through the rest of their lives, or one who is curious about this incredible art and is experiencing it for the first time.”

Each work on the concert is connected to Paynter. He was a composer and arranger as well as a teacher and conductor.

Paynter met Karl King through his mentor at Northwester, Director of Bands Glenn Cliffe Bainum. They would become friends, and the C.L. Barnhouse Company published Paynter’s arrangements of King’s marches, including the vigorous “The Trombone King”.

C.L. Barnhouse was also a composer himself, and Paynter arranged two of his works at the request of Barnhouse’s sons. Barnhouse first called his publishing business Harmony Heaven, and later wrote this march in 1921 of the same name. “The Battle of Shiloh” is a brilliant showpiece, typical of the turn of the century virtuosic style. Paynter says, “It should have real razzle-dazzle and firepower!”

Paynter’s best known arrangements are of the music of the English composer Malcolm Arnold. He transcribed five of Arnold’s works, two of which are on the concert. “Sarabande and Polka” are two charming and beautiful movements from Arnold’s ballet, “Solitaire”. “Tam O’Shanter Overture” is based on the hero of a 1790 poem by the Scottish poet, Robert Burns. A slightly tipsy farmer, Tam, gets on his horse to ride home in the very late evening. He is pursued by witches – one who reaches out to grab him, but only succeeds in taking the horse’s tail as Tam rides safely over the river (these witches can not cross running water).

“Whatsoever Things” was commissioned after Paynter’s death by the Revelli Foundation for the 1997 Honor Band of America (Ray Cramer, conductor) as the inaugural commission of the Paynter Project. Composer Mark Camphouse is a former student of Paynter’s. The melody of Northwestern’s Alma Mater hymn, taken from the famous “St. Anthony Chorale” by Franz Joseph Haydn, recurs throughout. The title is taken from Northwestern’s motto, itself from Philippians 4:8:

Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

“Full Circle” by Ryan George, really does bring everything on this concert ‘full circle’. The Parkside bands are members of the consortium that commissioned this work for the 2019 Music For All National High School Honor Band, conducted by Ray Cramer. The performance will be the Midwest premiere of the work.

Rexroth says, “Last spring, we had the greatest pleasure of having Ray Cramer on campus to work with our students and the Community Band for a week. Mr. Cramer is the emeritus Director of Bands at Indiana University. He and Mr. Paynter were very close friends – each influencing the other in their professional work as well. Mr. Cramer conducted the premiere of “Whatsoever Things” immediately after Mr. Paynter’s death, and now has just conducted the premiere of “Full Circle” for the same organization. In fact, the composer Ryan George tells the story of playing in the premiere of the Camphouse piece as a high school senior – and then, 22 years later, being asked to compose a work for this ensemble. He says, “Full Circle is intended to be a musical homecoming. Something that exudes joy, excitement, and optimism.” 

Rexroth continues, “This concert is certainly a circle completed for me – connecting both of my wonderful musical mentors, Mr. Paynter and Mr. Cramer, my teaching at Parkside, and my work with the UWP Community Band. It will be an amazing musical experience for our listeners!"

To see more upcoming music performances at UW-Parkside, make sure to check out The Rita webpage: https://www.uwp.edu/therita/musicperformances.cfm.

Tickets are available here: https://uwparksidetickets.universitytickets.com/w/?cid=162


Lesley Heins-Walker
Dean and Professor, College of Arts and Humanities

Laura Rexorth
Director of Bands

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