The University of Central Arkansas Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Ricky Brooks, will return to New York City for a second performance in Carnegie Hall on Monday, April 23 at 8 p.m.

Brooks said the Wind Ensemble, which made its Carnegie Hall debut in 2003 with guest soloist Joe Alessi, principal trombonist with the New York Philharmonic, was excited to reunite with Alessi.

“When we found out we were going to perform (in Carnegie Hall) again in 2018, we asked Joe if he would like to make a return appearance with us,” Brooks said. “He was delighted, and we even had him on our campus (in) January for a few days as artist-in-residence.

“He rehearsed with the Wind Ensemble and conducted and performed with the trombone ensemble. Joe and the students had a great time interacting and getting to know each other. That makes our performance with him more personal.”

The Wind Ensemble will open with a high-energy piece, “Centrafuge,” by Charles Booker. Brooks called it an homage to jazz musicians Hank Levy and Don Ellis, friends of Booker’s while he was staff arranger and composer for the Airmen of Note, the premier United States Air Force jazz band. In 2007, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of UCA, the UCA Wind Ensemble commissioned Booker to compose a work.

“At the time, the moniker of the university was ‘UCA — the Center of Learning,’ so Mr. Booker titled his new work ‘Centrafuge,’” Brooks said.

The program will also feature Alessi on “Trombone Concerto” by William Bolcom. Brooks said the band version was finished just this year, and the performance at Carnegie Hall would be just the second one of that version; the first was the premiere in November.

He added that “Danzon No. 2,” by Arturo Marquez was a lot of fun for the band and audience, and would feature student soloists.

Brooks said the Wind Ensemble wanted a special tune with some tie or reference to New York to end the program, and the students chose to finish the concert with Leonard Bernstein’s “Slava!.”

As a part of this trip, President Houston Davis is leading a group of UCA alumni and friends who support music and the arts to attend the Wind Ensemble performance. The group will also tour the Steinway piano factory and select a new Steinway for campus. This trip is part of the UCA Steinway Initiative to help UCA to become an All-Steinway School, a designation held by only 179 universities worldwide.  The group will also attend a dinner hosted by 2013 Distinguished Alumni awardee Terry Pillow. Pillow is the retired CEO of Tommy Bahama where the dinner will be held.

The UCA College of Fine Arts and Communication includes the Departments of Art, Music, and Film, Theatre and Creative Writing as well as the School of Communication. The college’s primary mission is the preparation of the next generation of artists, educators and communicators. For more information about CFAC, visit or call 501-450-3293.