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SRU Good News for April 11, 2012

SRU trombone graduate spends summer ‘barging’

Ethan Willis, a 2011 Slippery Rock University music education graduate from Pittsburgh, but now living in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texas, is taking his trombone-playing skills on the river.

Wills is one of five trombonists selected to play with the American Wind Symphony, which is best known for its summer performances on a barge that tours the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

The concert season runs June through September and will include a July 14 concert stop at Point State Park in Pittsburgh.  Other regional concerts near the same date will include Aspinwall, Braddock, Monessen, Brownsville and Rices Landing, all in Pittsburgh. There are also West Virginia, Tennessee and Mississippi concerts planned. The concerts offer music programs that typically include classics such as Handel’s “Water Music” or Mozart’s “Grande Serenade,” as well as newly commissioned works, Broadway medleys and Sousa marches.

Wills auditioned for the position while studying for his master’s degree in trombone performance at the University of North Texas. The symphony, which travels aboard a barge, the Point Counterpoint II, that docks and turns into a performing stage. It has offered free concerts for 53 years. The program has been offered on a number of U.S. waterways as well as in the Caribbean and in Northern Europe.

Robert Austin Boudreau conducts the symphony, which is funded in part by H.J. Heinz Co. and Duquesne University.

Additional information about the symphony and its summer schedule is available at: