Arts & Culture

Film, music combine in UK Bands, Wind Symphony celebration of Earth Day

UK Bands and Wind Symphony present "The Blue Marble" 3 p.m. Sunday, April 23, at Singletary Center.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 19, 2023) — The University of Kentucky Bands and the UK Wind Symphony will celebrate Earth Day with their final concert of the semester 3 p.m. Sunday, April 23, in the Singletary Center for the Arts Concert Hall. Featuring works with Earth-related themes, the program includes a performance of Julie Giroux’s newest work, Symphony No. IV, "The Blue Marble." This immersive film and symphonic experience was inspired by the famous photograph of the same name, captured in 1972 by the crew of the Apollo 17 mission while in transit to the moon. 

"The Blue Marble" features an immersive film played behind the musicians during each of the three movements, while special “spatial” sound effects will also be incorporated into the performance designed by composer Julie Giroux and Ion Concert Media. The program will also include Joseph Schwantner’s "and the mountains rising nowhere," Michael Daugherty’s "Niagara Falls," and two short pieces by student concerto competition finalist Jake Alford on tuba and concerto competition winner Alexis Cerise on bassoon. 

With film and music combined, the concert will create an entirely immersive live experience for audience members. Students will perform on a darkened stage with a movie running on a large screen behind the ensemble.

“'The Blue Marble' is a perfect large-scale symphonic work to experience as we celebrate Earth Day in Lexington and across the United States,” said John Cody Birdwell, D.M.A., conductor of UK Wind Symphony. 

The UK Wind Symphony consists of the finest wind and percussion graduate and undergraduate students in the nationally recognized UK School of Music, conducted by John Cody Birdwell, director of bands at the University of Kentucky. As the centerpiece of a band program that has served the Commonwealth of Kentucky for over 100 years, the Wind Symphony continues a rich tradition of performing the finest traditional and contemporary compositions in the concert band/chamber winds repertoire.    

Tickets are general admission seating, $12 for adults and $6 for students. Free tickets for UK students can be purchased in advance up to the day before the concert. To purchase tickets, contact the Singletary Center for the Arts ticket office at 859-257-4929, visit online at or visit the ticket office in person.  

The School of Music at UK College of Fine Arts has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, music therapy, composition and theory and music history. 

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.