House Brand Woodwind Ensemble - First Concerts

The House Brand Woodwind Ensemble played the same program for its first two concerts. The group consisted of Joe Stefani and Dick Peik, clarinets, Glen Newton, French horn, and Kate Saumur, bassoon. All were employees of Univac (which later became Sperry-Univac, and then Unisys); Joe worked in the procurement group, and Dick, Glen, and Kate were software developers in three different groups. After several rehearsals, the quartet performed in two of the four buildings that were then part of the Univac complex in Roseville, Minnesota.

Glen Newton, the group's leader, commented on the quartet's first public appearances:

We performed our first pair of concerts March 11 and 12, 1981, in room C87 of building two and the building three cafeteria. Since we were part of the Brown Bag series, Mary Steele took care of the space arrangements, plus little details like getting the Muzak shut off in the cafeteria when it was time for us to start.The half-hour program, which I narrated, featured works by Mozart, Gabrieli, Bach, William Rimmer, and Dorothy C. Newton. All of the pieces, including "Happy Companions", were well-received.

Angie Barnhart, a member of the Univac graphics department, made up posters and programs for us, based on material Glen supplied, including a two-sentence writeup about each member of the ensemble and a picture of his or her instrument.

Most of the repertoire for the concert was originally published for brass quartet. Kate played the trombone parts, Dick and Joe played the trumpet parts, and Glen, the only one playing the music on the instrument for which it was arranged, played the horn parts.

Carol Jensen, director of the St. Anthony Civic Orchestra, recorded the concert from the audience.

The program included the following writeup of the only original composition on the concert:

Dorothy C. Newton (born Dorothy V. Crammond in 1905 in Newton, Iowa) originally wrote "Happy Companions" for piano. Published in 1917, it was her fourth work published by W. A. Evans, who was unaware of the youth of the composer. Her father, an experienced composer of piano music, encouraged her to "Write like an adult" when corresponding with publishers, so tehy would not dismiss the compositions before hearing them. Her musical activities have included piano teaching, solo and ensemble performances on piano and violin, and more than forty years as organist and choir director for the Congregational and United Churches of Big Rapids, Michigan. "Happy Companions" has been transcribed for woodwind quartet by Glen Newton, son of the composer.

This page was last updated
Friday, February 07, 2020.

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