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"On Her Majesty’s Service" to march into Zoellner

A journey that began as a dinner conversation between Lehigh professor of music David Diggs and Major Graham O. Jones, one of England’s most respected military conductors, has led to an entire concert: “On Her Majesty’s Service,” which will be performed by the Wind Ensemble at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 1 at Lehigh University’s Zoellner Arts Center.

In the two years since the 2003 dinner, Diggs has made several trips to London to research the history of the Regimental Band, which was formed as a military unit by Frederick, Duke of York. Afforded the opportunity to examine the band’s full library of music, Diggs came home with plenty of material for the program. All of the music is from the repertoire of the Coldstream Guards band, much of which has been played only overseas.

“On Her Majesty’s Service” includes pieces dating back to the 18th century, each which has a dramatic military and/or musical story to tell. For instance, Fanfare for Our Heroes was written in 1991 by then Director of Music, Major David W. Marshall for the band’s tour of America. Its title is a paraphrase of a quote by Duke Ellington and was written as a salute to the personnel from both sides of the ocean serving in the Persian Gulf conflict. The Red Machine was inspired by the band’s reputation for precision marching that has led to them being described as “The Red Machine.” Composers of the pieces include Major Jones, Christopher Frederick Eley (1756-1832), and David Diggs.

Diggs, the Ensemble’s director, joined the Lehigh faculty in 1998 as teacher of harmony and oboe. A woodwind specialist, he is active in New York City where he regularly performs with the NYC Ballet Orchestra and the Carnegie Trio. He has also performed with the New York Philharmonic, NYC Opera Orchestra, Moiseyev Russian Ballet, Goldman Memorial Band and in numerous Broadway shows.

Presently the Director of Music of the Regimental Band of Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards, Major Jones MBE is often seen at Buckingham Palace and State events.

Tickets for the May 1 performance are $15. To order tickets, call 610-758-2787 (7LU-ARTS), visit Zoellner Ticket Services, Monday through Friday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 1l a.m.-2 p.m., and two hours before curtain, or order online. Group, student and LVAIC discounts are available.

Posted on Monday, April 11, 2005

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