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McPherson College Band Concert March 7 Features Legendary Trombone Player

The McPherson College and Hillsboro High School Joint Band Concert on March 7 will feature as guest artist an MC alumnus who is one of the most prominent trombonists in the world.

Dr. Irvin Wagner – a 1959 graduate of McPherson College – will be the concert’s guest soloist on trombone. Kyle Hopkins, associate professor of music and director of bands at MC, said that having Dr. Wagner perform on the concert will provide an incredible musical experience for the students and a fabulous concert for the audience.

“Irv is famous worldwide for his trombone playing and conducting,” Hopkins said. “It’s a huge deal to get him here to play with us.”

The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Brown Auditorium. Admission is free and the public is invited and encouraged to attend.

Dr. Wagner is currently on the faculty of the University of Oklahoma as the David Ross Boyd and Regents Professor of Music, teaching trombone and serving as the coordinator of graduate music studies. At the university he leads the Oklahoma Trombone Choir, which has performed at the International Trombone Festival six times and has released two major albums. He’s also the former president of the International Trombone Association from 1982 to 1984 and was the director of bands at McPherson College in the 1960s.

In addition to his work at Oklahoma, Dr. Wagner has contributed in the community and around the world as a performer, conductor, and composer. In the 1980s, he was the most-heard trombonist in the world, reaching more than a quarter of the planet’s population thanks to public tours across more than 30 countries and a television special in China, which was watched my more than 600 million, and India, seen by 500 million people.

He plays in the Oklahoma Philharmonic Orchestra and has served frequently as its guest conductor. He has also been a guest conductor for the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, the Russian Imperial Orchestra in St. Petersburg, the Cannes Symphony Orchestra in France and the Orquesta Sinfonica in Argentina. His compositions and arrangements for trombone choirs and symphony orchestras have become staples in the United States and around the world.

The Federated Music Clubs of Oklahoma named Dr. Wagner the “Oklahoma Musician of the Year” in 1988, and the International Trombone Association presented him with its highest honor in the ITA Award, for his contributions to the trombone-playing world.

The March 7 concert will open with the McPherson College Jazz Band followed by the Hillsboro High School Band playing a few selections on their own. The McPherson College Concert Band will then perform with Dr. Wagner as guest soloist. The finale will include all the groups and Dr. Wagner, and will also feature a special trombone ensemble including McPherson College students, MC alumni, community members, Dr. Wagner, and Dr. Larry Kitzel, who is a 1965 MC alumnus and was professor of music and director of bands at MC for more than three decades starting in the 1970s.