Members of the American Band College Directors' Band perform in a recent concert.

Band leaders take the stage

Two of America's most distinguished school band leaders will conduct pieces during the American Band College Directors Band's annual concert at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater.

The Medford concert and a Fourth of July Fireworks Concert in Ashland are the product of three weeks of instruction at Southern Oregon University for high school, middle school and college band directors who are earning their master's degrees through the three-year American Band College program.

Al and Gladys Wright, who have taught high school and college students band music for more than 100 years combined, will each conduct one piece during the Medford concert, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 26, at the Craterian, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford.

Gladys Wright was the first woman to be inducted into the National Band Conductors Hall of Fame for Distinguished Conductors. She also was the first woman elected to the American Bandmasters Association and the first woman to receive membership in the bandmasters fraternity Phi Beta Mu. She has won the National Band Association's Citation of Excellence and the John Philip Sousa Foundation's Sudler Order Gold Medal.

Al Wright was director of Miami Senior High School Bands from 1938 to 1954, when he accepted the position of director of bands at Purdue University. In 1954, he helped found the American School Band Directors Association and, in 1961, he founded the National Band Association. In 1978, he helped Col. George Howard develop the John Philip Sousa Foundation and has served as its president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board. Al Wright will be celebrating his 92nd birthday by conducting a Henry Fillmore march during the concert.

Soloist will be trumpeter Allen Vizzutti, who has performed with Chick Corea, Doc Severinsen, the NBC Tonight Show Band, the Airmen of Note, the Army Blues, Chuck Mangione, Woody Herman and others.

Vizzutti has taught at a number of universities as an artist-in-residence. "The Allen Vizzutti Trumpet Method," published by Alfred Music, has become a standard work for trumpet study worldwide.

Vizzutti will be featured in his own composition, "American Jazz Suite," the traditional "Carnival of Venice" and "Ode for Trumpet" (second movement) by Alfred Reed.

Principal guest conductors will be Ralph Hultgren, professor at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University in Australia, and Bruce Dinkins, a 30-year concert band director.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for seniors 62 and up, and $7 for children under 12. Tickets are available at Cripple Creek Music in Ashland, at bandworld.org or at the Craterian box office.

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