Nebraska Wind Symphony and Omaha Symphonic Chorus “Celebrate Nebraska”


October 26th, 2017

Omaha, NE—The Nebraska Wind Symphony and Omaha Symphonic Chorus have come together for a concert for Nebraska’s 150th anniversary, “Celebrate Nebraska.” The two organizations together comprise about 175 local singers and instrumentalists who will be playing at Millard North High School this Sunday.

Greg Zielke, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Omaha Symphonic Chorus talked about some of the features of the upcoming performance:

“We selected music that would help to celebrate Nebraska artists, primarily musicians and composers, but also poets,” Zielke said. “One of Nebraska’s most well known sons in music is Howard Hanson who was from Wahoo, and he became a very important musical figure in the United States and he wrote a piece called ‘Song of Democracy’ so we are performing that piece. It’s a very well known piece and has a great message as well in terms of American history and in the ideals that Americans hold.”

Sunday’s lineup also pays tribute to poets and authors. “Song of Democracy’s” lyrics come from sections of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, and a new piece for band and chorus by David Gardner, “Nebraska—My Heartland,” uses the work of Nebraskan writer Willa Cather and contemporary poet Veronica Torraca Bragdon.

Music Director of the Nebraska Wind Symphony Larry MacTaggart talked about some other highlights of the afternoon.

“In addition to the program, each of the groups, Wind Symphony and Chorus, has a section alone and we’re also celebrating the music of Nebraska as well,” MacTaggart said. “The Wind Symphony during our section is doing a march written by John Philip Sousa, ‘the University of Nebraska March.’ A lot of people may not have known that Sousa actually wrote a march for the University of Nebraska, and we’re also doing a piece by one of our members that’s called ‘Chimney Rock,’ so we’re celebrating a monumental piece of Nebraska. And then also a tribute to our relationship with Offutt Air Force Base with an arrangement of ‘Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines,’ and we take that piece and we run it through several different variations and morph it through this and that celebrate that long standing relationship with Offutt and Nebraska.”

And as for whether a collaboration like this will happen again?

“Well I would hope so,” Zielke said. “The first time we met together it was just last week, and I think based on what I heard from our singers and from the instrumentalists, it was really positive. Everybody came away with it an amazing appreciation for the other ensemble. I know I heard that from my singers, so I would hope that there might be other opportunities.”

“And there’s lots of great repertoire that we can explore and do together again,” MacTaggart said. “It’s just finding the venue that’s big enough for both of us to be able to come together but that’s an easy problem.”

“Celebrate Nebraska,” a joint concert by the Nebraska Wind Symphony and Omaha Symphonic Chorus is this Sunday, October 29th at 3:00pm at the Millard North High School Auditorium. For more information or tickets, visit or


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