Bismarck Wind Ensemble concludes Performing Arts Series

> The 2016-17 University of Jamestown's Performing Arts Series has been another stunner. Dr. Richard Walentine booked a variety of culturally rich events throughout the school year. Trillium brought a trio of strings in October, Bultema/ Skyles c...


The 2016-17 University of Jamestown’s Performing Arts Series has been another stunner. Dr. Richard Walentine booked a variety of culturally rich events throughout the school year. Trillium brought a trio of strings in October, Bultema/ Skyles contributed their soprano and tenor voices in January, and now, to conclude the year’s beautiful performances, the Bismarck Wind Ensemble will take the stage this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and fill the DeNault Auditorium with arm and vibrant sounds.

Walentine is himself a fine-tuned vocalist and handles the piano as well as any. He has a history of choosing quality groups and individuals who not only have mastered their art, but are willing to come to Jamestown when the weather is less than ideal. The Performing Arts Program has a loyal following of area people who relish being in the audience of live performers. One of the benefits of living in a college town is having different cultural events brought here by the university. Each year’s ticket sales help fund the following year’s events, and the patrons of the arts are treasured for their loyalty. Without them, groups like this year’s performers would not be in Jamestown.

The ensemble was founded by William J. Schmidt, director of instrumental music at St. Mary’s Central High School in Bismarck, and is now under the direction of Dr. John Darling, department chair, fine arts and humanities, Bismarck State College.

With more than 15 professions represented in the ensemble, the musicians enjoy getting together once or twice a year to perform the most challenging music from the band repertoire. The Bismarck-Mandan Wind Ensemble has performed for the NDMEA Convention on four different occasions, October of 2000 with guest soloist Richard Hahn, October of 2002, March of 2007 and 2016.


An online review of past performances gives promise of some fine selections:.

“Conducted by John Darling, the ensemble performs a series of commissioned works from across the country, as well as a circus march called “Screamers” by Douglas Wagner, and “Credence” by awardwinning composer Claude

T. Smith.

“Two works take inspiration from the landscape. “The Red Covered Bridge” by Robert Sheldon captures moments of serene reflection inspired by a Princeton, Ill., bridge. “Swiftriver Passage” by Paul Suchan honors the Saskatchewan River and passage of time.

“A fanfare by James Curnow opens the concert, followed by the uplifting “Prelude and Revelation” by John Moss, and “Ruckus,” a boisterous piece of mixed meter, heavy percussion and thumping rhythm.”

Dr. John Darling is currently an assistant professor of music at Bismarck State College, where he is responsible for conducting the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and all chamber groups. He also teaches instrumental conducting, aural skills and music appreciation. He joined the faculty of BSC in the summer of 2003 after serving two years as the assistant director of bands at Rutgers University. He has degrees from The University of the State of New York (Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Arts), Virginia Commonwealth University (Master of Music in conducting), and The Ohio State University (Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting).

Darling stays active as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator throughout the upper Midwest. He is an associate member of the board of directors for the International Music Camp, where he teaches during the summer sessions, and serves as the National Band Association state chair for North Dakota.

Darling retired after a long and distinguished career in the U.S. Army band program, in which he served as a saxophone player, a music theory and ear-training instructor at the Armed Forces School of Music, and as the director of Army bands in South Carolina, Korea, Virginia and Hawaii.


Tickets are available at the door or by reservation for $20 each. Walentine can be reached at 252-3467, ext. 5026, or by email at

If anyone has an item for this column, please send to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402-1559.

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