S.C. Lee Junior High Wind Symphony students perform “March of the Chinchillas” during the Central Texas Music Festival on Tuesday evening at Lea Ledger Auditorium in Copperas Cove.

Music lovers can enjoy traditional Gaelic tunes, Japanese transcription and American marches tonight and Saturday in Copperas Cove.

The 11th annual Central Texas Music Festival, held at Copperas Cove High School’s Lea Ledger Auditorium, opened Monday with performances from Lampasas and Harker Heights High schools. Other schools performed during the week.

Tonight, the Ellison High School Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble are joined by the Blinn College Symphony. Performances start at 6:30 p.m. Ellison returns this year after missing the event the past few years, said Jeff Smith, head band director.

“Each group will be doing three pieces of lighter music, not exactly pop, but lighter, and both bands will be playing music with an Irish influence,” Smith said.

He said the symphonic band under the direction of Tim Young will play music with a Gaelic influence while the wind ensemble will play three traditional Irish tunes known as “Gail Force” as well as music from the 1980 romantic science fiction film, “Somewhere in Time.” Both musical groups have nearly 50 students each. The bands are assisted by Alex Gonzalez.

Blinn College returns to the music festival for its fifth year, said instructor Larry Campbell who served as the band director of Killeen High School from 1990-1995. “We will present a very varied program, not long pieces, but with a lot of variety.”

Blinn will open with “Blue Towers,” a quasi-march by Irving Fine, “Mock Morris” from Percy Grainger, and “a Japanese transcription which is a wonderful seven-minute romp,” Campbell said.

On Saturday, the finale includes Copperas Cove High School’s wind ensemble and the Heights concert band in a combined event as well as individual performances. The first concert performance begins at 7 p.m.

Ken Wood of the Heights concert band said the event is a great opportunity to be entertained and support musicians.

“The event features marches, overtures and show tunes. The event comes right between Christmas and spring contest time, so it is a chance to promote local area musicians and local bands,” Wood said.

He said on Saturday night, the audience can expect “a really fine European march,” a Mozart piece, and a Great American March as the grand finale.

Contact Wendy Sledd at wsledd@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7476

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