ADA — For more than 100 years, Oklahomans have remembered and celebrated April 22 as the day of the great Oklahoma Land Run. This year, April 22 promises to be bigger than ever as Ada launches its own celebration of 100 years of statehood. 

East Central University and the Ada Arts Council will host the premiere of a suite for band, “Oklahoma Centennial Suite,” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22, in the Dorothy Summers Theatre. The concert is free and open to the public. 

The work was written by Ada composer W.T. Skye Garcia and arranged for band by Dr.Ed Huckeby, an ECU graduate from Allen who is professor of music and chief academic officer at Northeastern State University’s Broken Arrow campus. The suite will be performed by the ECU Wind Ensemble under the direction of Allen Correll.

Dr. Alvin Turner, dean of ECU’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, will provide a historical narrative to introduce the five movements of the suite, each relating to aspects of 100 years of Oklahoma history. 

Following the premiere, a CD of the performance and the entire band score with written narrative will be made available to any Oklahoma public school band, free of charge, thanks to grants from the ECU Foundation Inc. and the Ada Arts Council.

The “Oklahoma Centennial Suite for Band” project has been designated as an Official Oklahoma Centennial Project.

 The concert also will feature a special piano duo performance of Garcia’s “Prairie Suite” (also known as “Oklahoma Territory”) by Dr. Starla Hibler and Rudy Lupinski with narration by Dr. Linda Reese, ECU assistant professor of history. The piece was commissioned by the Oklahoma Music Teachers Association in 2005 and depicts the territorial period of Oklahoma.

In celebration of 100 years of Band Masters and Composers of Ada, Huckeby and Bronson Warren will pay tribute to Ada Band Masters Don Gant and Jerry Howard. Along with the tributes, the ECU Wind Ensemble will perform Huckeby’s special band arrangements honoring the men. Huckeby and Richard Howard, son of the late Jerry Howard, will be guest conductors.

Correll and the Wind Ensemble will also pay tribute to composer Percy Grainger who premiered his piece, “The Immovable Do,” at ECU on Feb. 23, 1940.  

The Oklahoma Centennial Celebration concert not only represents the first centennial celebration of its kind in the state, it also provides bands throughout Oklahoma with a “Centennial Gift” from Ada, offering them the opportunity to bring the centennial celebration to their own communities in 2007.