Concert to celebrate end of WWI



The School of Music will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1 with “ARMISTICE,” featuring the Glee Club and Wind Ensemble.


On Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m., UNI will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I with music.

The Varsity Men’s Glee Club and the Wind Ensemble will be performing in the “ARMISTICE” concert in the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center. Faculty members Bob Dunn and Sean Botkin will also perform solos on the guitar and piano, respectively.

“I think the students in the Glee Club were at first intrigued by the idea of doing something different,” said Glee Club director John Wiles. “I like to say that the Glee Club does everything from the sublime to the ridiculous. There’s no ridiculous in this concert for sure [. . .] We aim towards hope because, in the end, armistice is about peace.”

Although most of the music during the concert will represent England and the United States, Wiles also selected pieces that represent other regions affected by the war, such as France and Spain.

Some of these songs will explicitly be about World War I while others simply recall the sounds of it, according to Wiles. For example, the piece Dunn will be performing has nothing to do with the war; however, its composer, Enrique Granados, had an important link to it. In 1916, Granados was attacked by a German U-boat while traveling across the English Channel. He and his wife both drowned.

“Music affects different people in different ways,” Dunn said. “I think the general response [to the concert] would be one of reflection and somberness and perhaps, ‘Why can’t we do better than this? Why do we have to have war?’ [. . .] War and armed conflict is a futile thing. I hope that people will be able to reflect on that. World leaders do necessarily. Ideally, I would like to see us get to a place where we realize the futility and the waste of war.”

The concert will also feature a reading of “In Flanders Field” by John McRae, one of the most well-known poems about World War I.

One of the pieces during the show was composed by Anthony Maglione, whom the Glee Club commissioned to set to music “Dulce et Decorum est,” a poem by Owen Wilfred.

In addition to his work as a composer, Maglione is an associate professor of music and director of choral studies at William Jewell College in Kansas City. He and Wiles met for the first time a few years ago at the Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses National Conference.

“I heard Tony’s music for the first time about four or five years ago,” Wiles said. “I was really touched by it. I think that his music has a heavy percussive quality and its non-western influences in his music and there’s clear architecture to what he does [. . .] That’s why I asked Tony to do it.”

“I took a lot of time to study the poem,” Maglione said. “I got some analyses of Owen Wilfred’s other works. I got a lot of his World War I material, some letters that he had written and that sort. Then I decided how I was going to break the poem up.”

Although he could have done the poem as one continuous movement, Maglione said he decided to divide the poem into three sections.

“The first section describes this group of soldiers marching away from a battle,” Maglione said. “So, they’ve already fought. They’re exhausted. They’re bloody. And they’re just trying to get away from the battle so that they can get home and rest.”

Of all the works featured in the concert, Wiles is most excited for the work set by Maglione.

In the second movement, Maglione’s composition employs 12-tone music in which all 12 notes of master chromatic tones are used. According to Wiles, this is something even music majors seldom encounter during their studies.

“I want it to be a warning,” Maglione said. “A warning that war is awful [. . .] In current memory, we have not seen a war on American soil. And I think we should keep that in mind while we’re dealing with each other and all our divisive rhetoric and remind ourselves we’re all people and that the end result of aggression and things of that sort can wind up being this brutality. War is awful, and I know that we celebrate the resolution of it, but so much went wrong with World War I.”

The event is ticketed, but all veterans and current military members will receive free admission.


EDITOR’S NOTE: The time for the “ARMISTICE” concert was incorrectly listed at 7 p.m. It is actually scheduled for 2 p.m. The article has been updated to reflect this correction.