Season 2019-2020 2020-03-15T20:52:42+00:00


We are pleased to bring to Oregon Freedom From Fear, a new symphony by local composer Kevin Walczyk, which was premiered by The University of Kansas Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble in performances in Kansas and at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. In a rare fusion of wind and jazz ensembles, this four-movement piece flows among varied musical styles, including classical, Delta blues, jazz improvisation, Syrian folk music and the voices of soprano and boy soprano. Salem Symphonic Winds will be joined for the performance by the Salem Big Band and soprano soloist Clare Hudkins.

The work pursues a programmatic idea that centers on displaced peoples and the global concept of Freedom from Fear — one of the Four Freedoms Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke of in his 1941 United Nations inaugural address. FDR’s Four Freedoms became so emblematic of the United Nations that they were added to its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This symphony is unified by the concept of Freedom from Fear as it impacts displaced peoples. The focus of the symphony’s four movements range from the experience of adoptees represented by the biblical story of Moses to the beacon of hope the Statue of Liberty offers the displaced: the Courage and Freedom from Fear to relinquish their homeland and start again, adopted by their new country.

Martin Ellerby’s Cane River Murals were inspired by the spirituality of the African House Murals by Clementine Hunter. Her nine murals depict the colorfully rich daily life of the Cane River Country’s Creole inhabitants in the early 20th century, near the Melrose Plantation in Louisiana.

This five-movement suite comes alive in a celebration of dance and color, but also encompasses a darker and more spiritual truth that their initial innocence somewhat shrouds. The five movements are:

Springtime Planting (Spiritual)

Wash Day (Scherzo)

Baptism, Wedding and Funeral (Triptych)

Honky Tonk (Blues)

Pecan Harvest (Celebration)



Featuring Bella Voce, The Premier Women’s Choir at Oregon State University, Sandra Babb Director

Johan de Meij’s Symphony #3 – Planet Earth was written as a sequel to Gustav Holst’s The Planets. De Meij’s symphony is an ode to Mother Earth in all its miraculous beauty and, like Holst’s work, it employs a full symphony and female choir.

The Symphony begins with a view of the ‘Lonely Planet’ from space, with angelic voices from the women’s choir and the dramatic sounds of planets and comets whirling around Earth. The fragility of the Earth’s natural beauty inspires poignant themes culminating in a hymn to Mother Earth (Gaia in Greek). Bella Voce, the premier women’s choir at Oregon State University, will join the Salem Symphonic Winds to bring this symphony to Salem.

The daily newspaper Trouw wrote: “On Thursday evening De Meij’s première was grandly performed by the North Netherlands Orchestra (NNO) and the North Netherlands Concert Choir, conducted by Otto Tausk. The NNO has a reputation in this field…. De Meij knows how to compose, and he knows how to produce an effect. The audience in De Doelen gave him an enthusiastic applause afterward… To quote the Dutch writer Annie M.G. Schmidt: ‘What a planet!’”

De Meij’s wife, Dyan Machan, has created a film to accompany the symphony that takes the audience from earth’s creation to the present day. The film utilizes breathtaking images of our planet and all of its treasures, combined with those of a beautiful young dancer representing Gaia, to intensify the dramatic power of the symphony.

When the film and symphony premiered together for the first time in 2018 in Visp, Switzerland, concertgoers wept and came back to see it again.

“The film gives the orchestral score a whole new dimension. The interaction between music and film make the concert an intense and unforgettable experience.”

— Anthony Fiumara – Composer, Professor of Composition, Academy of Music and Performing Arts, Tilburg, Music Journalist

Salem Symphonic Winds receive support from the Oregon Arts Commission,
a state agency funded by the State of Oregon.