Rutgers Symphony Band to honor band leader Arthur Pryor on March 14

The Rutgers Symphony Band is set to dedicate a performance to trombonist, band leader and composer Arthur Pryor (1870-1942) in Americana on the Raritana, a pops concert scheduled for Thursday, March 14, 2013, at Nicholas Music Center.

According to Symphony Band conductor Darryl Bott, Pryor, who later in life served on the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders (his band performed many summers in Asbury Park), was “the king of trombone” in the early part of the 20th century. “The Pryor Band is a very Americana tradition, no doubt about it.”

The evening will include a variety of special guests, such as Joe Alessi, principal trombone for the New York Philharmonic, and Mason Gross vocal professor Eduardo Chama. Chama will narrate Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait.

The 90-member Symphony Band also will perform Pryor's arrangement of Blue Bells of Scotland and his Fantastic Polka, both of which will feature Alessi solos. John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever will be featured, as well as Artie Shaw’s Clarinet Concerto with the Mason Gross School’s Joseph D’Auguste soloing.

“These bands from the turn of the 20th century on—they were like the pop-rock groups of today,” says Bott, who adds that he believes it’s critical for his student musicians to understand this historical aspect of wind band music. “Sousa, Goldman, Pryor—their concerts were attended by thousands and thousands of people. Pryor played all over the country. It was the music of the day.”

Americana on the Raritana: A Tribute to Arthur Pryor is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14, 2013, at the Nicholas Music Center.Tickets are $15 for the general public, $10 for Rutgers alumni and employees and seniors and only $5 for students with valid ID. Nicholas Music Center is in the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center, 85 George Street (between Route 18 and Ryders Lane), on the Douglass Campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in New Brunswick. For more information about any Mason Gross event, visit www.masongross.rutgers.edu or call the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center ticket office at 732-932-7511.