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Savannah Winds to feature Sousa, Mercer
Annual spring POPS concert to be held Sunday afternoon at AASU
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SAVANNAH — Armstrong Atlantic State University Department of Art, Music and Theatre (AASU AMT) invites all to join the Savannah Winds for its signature Springtime concert event: the annual “Ed and Friends” POPS Concert in AASU’s beautifully renovated Fine Arts Auditorium, on April 26 at 3 p.m.

This year’s version of the always spirited concert features music by John Philip Sousa, George Gershwin, Leroy Anderson and Savannah’s own Johnny Mercer.

Guided by music director and conductor, Mark B. Johnson, the Savannah Winds, resident community wind symphony at AASU, has slated music of historic significance for the 2009 version of this special concert. Last year marked the centennial of great American composer Leroy Anderson. The ensemble tributes Anderson with music from his formidable oeuvre: “Bluebells of Scotland,” “China Doll,” “The Girl in Satin,” “Irish Washerwoman,” “The Minstrel Boy,” “Blue Tango,” and “The Waltzing Cat,” amongst others.

Speaking of centennial tributes, the band joins so many other organizations in Savannah with its own nod to Savannah’s own by performing two medley sets: Cofield’s “A Johnny Mercer Medley” and Baker’s “Here’s Johnny… Mercer.”

Rounding out the program, Johnson’s ensemble closes with Symphonic Gershwin, a vintage Warren Barker arrangement of mesmerizing Gershwin melodies from “An American In Paris,” “Cuban Overture,” and “Rhapsody in Blue”; followed by the incomparable magnum opus of legendary concert band leader, John Philip Sousa, “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

The Savannah Winds Community Wind Symphony in residence at AASU is an ensemble that in recent years boasted of community membership consisting of select AASU students in addition to local musicians ranging in age from teenagers to players in their 80s.

The ensemble has come to be regarded as Savannah’s premier community wind ensemble. Membership changes from season to season, and the band invites interested musicians, professionals and those who enjoy music as an avocation, to become involved.

Rehearsing weekly from September through June, the group regularly performs patriotic, standard, and art music of the vast and rich wind ensemble repertoire.

Ed Caughran of “Ed & Friends” fame … The Annual POPS Concert originated as a cornerstone of the “Ed and Friends” concert series. The “Ed and Friends” tradition celebrates the numerous achievements of Caughran, retired fine arts coordinator and music specialist for the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools.

The AASU Fine Arts Auditorium is a nearly 1,000 seat, mid-sized concert hall that AASU has just reopened after extensive interior renovation during the last 12 months.

Acoustical, aesthetic, technical, and cosmetic upgrades have now made this concert hall a premiere location for concert going experience. Parking is convenient, and the building is wheelchair accessible.

Johnson’s conducting responsibilities at AASU include leading the Savannah Winds, the university wind ensemble, and various chamber ensembles. He also teaches conducting, music education courses, and he coordinates the wind and brass studies divisions.

Johnson has completed post-graduate studies in band and orchestral conducting at the University of Kansas. He received his master’s of music degree in conducting and brass pedagogy from Louisiana State University and his bachelor’s of music education degree from Murray State University.

Tickets are on sale now! General admission concert tickets to the 2009 Savannah Winds Annual POPS Concert are on sale for only $14, with discounts for senior citizens, military personnel, and children/students.

Advance tickets are now available on-line. Visit

Or, advance tickets may be purchased in person or by phone at the Box Office located in AASU Fine Arts Hall lobby. Box office hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m., weekdays. (912) 344-2801.

To purchase advance concert tickets by mail, please send payment (make check payable to AASU Department of Art, Music and Theatre) and a self-addressed, stamped envelope, including a note indicating number of tickets at each price level, to:
Savannah Winds POPS Concert Tickets Department of Art, Music and Theatre Armstrong Atlantic State University 11935 Abercorn St., Savannah, GA 31419-1997.

Any remaining seats will be sold at the door

Call (912) 344-2801 weekdays, for concert or departmental information.

All concert-ticket proceeds benefit students receiving financial support through the AASU Music Scholarship Fund.