School of the Arts

Symphonic Winds: Art and Music

Royce Tevis’ Last Time Directing the Symphonic Winds Ensemble Will be the “Art and Music” Concert

Royce Tevis conducting
Director Royce Tevis

California State University, Chico’s School of the Arts presents the Symphonic Winds concert, “Art and Music,” held Saturday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. in Harlen Adams Theatre. Featured at the concert will be guest artist Alycia Coleman. This will be conductor Royce Tevis’ last concert with the ensemble, as he is retiring at the end of the semester. Tickets are available at the University Box Office, 530-898-6333.

“Many times when people retire, they try to do a monumental work, but I chose the music that’s best for the education of our students,” said Tevis, director of the Band Program at Chico State and Department of Music and Theatre faculty member.

The main compositions Tevis chose for this concert are “Picture Studies” by Adam Schoenberg and “The Louvre” by Norman dello Joio. For these works, the composers based their music on artwork at the Kansas City Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Louvre respectively. The art inspiring these works will be displayed as the band performs.

“Just think about being able to see what inspired the composer to write the music. It’s exciting,” Tevis said.

"Picture Studies” was written as a 21st century rendition of “Pictures at an Exhibition.” There are 10 movements based off four paintings, three photographs, and one sculpture, all from a range of time periods. 

Alycia Coleman, soprano
Guest artist Alycia Coleman

“It’s interesting to me that Schoenberg didn’t choose just one era or just one medium,” Tevis said.

“The Louvre” was originally written for an NBC T.V. production about the Louvre, which featured Charles Boyer as the host tour guide. There are five movements: “The Portals,” “The Children’s Gallery,” “The Kings of France,” “The Nativity Paintings,” and “The Finale.” Tevis and the band students have chosen the artwork to feature for this piece.

“dello Joio probably had no idea anyone would do this; I don’t know anyone who has done it,” Tevis commented about simultaneously performing the work while displaying the art that inspired it.

Another feature of this concert is the appearance of special guest artist Alycia Coleman. Coleman is a soprano and will be performing in two pieces, including the aria “Pace, Pace mio Dio” from the opera “La Forza del destino.”

“It has been several years since her powerful and emotional voice was heard with the Band,” Tevis said. “We are looking forward to making music with her once again.”

Symphonic Winds ensemble playing

Other compositions include “Eternal Father,” based on the Navy hymn and a percussion ensemble piece. It is a rarity at the Symphonic Winds concerts to highlight a percussion ensemble.

“There’s going to be a wide variety of music. We’re going to have everything from a highbrow aria to what bands are known for (marches) to fun, jazzy pieces,” Tevis said.

Tickets for the concert are priced at $18 adults, $16 seniors, and $6 students and youth, and are available to purchase at CSU, Chico’s University Box Office, 530-898-6333.

For those who need special seating accommodations, please call 530-898-6333. More information is available online at the School of the Arts websiteand Facebook page.

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Story by Shelby Casey, School of the Arts publicity assistant


Royce Tevis Biography

Royce Tevis conducting

When word got out on Facebook recently that Royce Tevis, long time band director at California State University, Chico, was conducting his last concert—Art and Music on April 20th—and that he would be retiring at the end of the semester, students, alumni, and colleagues responded with supportive comments. 

Lindsay Kellog’s comment described Tevis as “the most amazing mentor ever.”

Diana Castillo Daijogo also wrote, “he was so kind and inviting when we went to visit campus and was a big influence on my daughter’s decision to attend Chico.”

“Dr. Tevis…You are a kind person and your commitment to education (both your own and others) is commendable…,” said Adrian Mora.

Tevis has tailored Art and Music to challenge the abilities of his student musicians. The concert at 7:30 p.m. in Harlen Adams Theatre includes a number of band alumni joining the Symphonic Winds Ensemble. More information about the concert is available on the School of the Arts website, and tickets are available at the University Box Office, 530-898-6333.

“Many times, when people retire, they try to do a monumental work, but I chose the music that’s best for the education of our students,” said Tevis.

Tevis has been a full-time director for high school and university bands for 46 years. He is the director of the University Bands program at CSU, Chico. He conducts the Wind Ensemble and the Symphonic Band, and works within every aspect of the University Bands program. He trains students in conducting, wind literature, and instrumental education.

The Symphonic Winds Ensemble is a highly select, auditioned band that has been around since the early 1900s. The ensemble consists of CSU, Chico students who play flute, clarinet, saxophone, low woodwind, horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, or a percussion instrument.

Tevis began his musical journey by playing the trumpet.

Royce Tevis conducting

He was inspired and mentored by his junior high and high school band director, Ted Marr, who asked if he would conduct a piece for the first time. Tevis chose to conduct a Bach piece, which resulted in the discovery of his passion for conducting.

“This [conducting] was even more fun than playing trumpet,” Tevis said.

During the concert, Tevis also performed his first solo. He still remembers the title—“Trumpet of the Night” by Harry Simeone. While in high school, Tevis also was a member of the California Youth Orchestra, where Marr was Tevis’ private trumpet teacher. 

Following high school, Tevis enrolled at CSU, Chico and joined the University’s band as a freshman in 1966. He studied under Department of Music faculty member Dan Hiestand, who became his mentor while he was in college.

During the time period Tevis attended college, young men across the country were being selected through a lottery process to be drafted into the military. Once he finished his bachelor’s degree, Tevis felt his lottery number would be selected, so he enlisted instead.

After graduating from Chico State, Tevis enlisted into the military and applied to be a member of the 6th Army Band in San Francisco. However, the Army did not have an opening for him. They sent him to the Naval School of Music to become a bugler after he completed three months of basic training. Bugle school is typically a six-month program, but since he had a bachelor’s degree, Tevis was able to finish in three.

Tevis played the bugle at military funerals during the late ’60s and early ’70s. That was the time period when soldiers returned from the Vietnam War. The west coast entrance for the soldiers was located in San Francisco, where he was stationed.

For Tevis, performing at the funerals was not the easiest thing to do.

“It was not an enjoyable thing in some respects. Seeing young women crying and whole families involved was very difficult,” Tevis explained.

And yet, “it was very fulfilling as part of our duties as part of the military,” he said.

After the military, Tevis returned to CSU, Chico and furthered his education by earning his master’s degree and teaching credential.

Prior to coming to Chico State as director of bands, Tevis was a band and orchestra director for public schools for eight years. He has been the band director for Willits High School (three years), Enterprise High School (three years), and Tokay High School (10 years). He also taught at McNeese State in Louisiana for eight years. He also held the position of treasurer of the California Band Director’s Association.

Royce Tevis bowing

Tevis said the experience directing bands at public high schools was “eye opening.”

Once he became director of bands at Chico State, to honor Hiestand, who had passed away while Tevis was pursuing teaching at public schools, Tevis created a scholarship fundraiser that has taken place annually in the fall called the Hiestand Memorial Concert.

Throughout the years, music was more than just playing and reading notes for Tevis.

“Music has a way of transcending words. For me, music touches people’s hearts and people’s souls. Music tends to say things for me that I couldn’t put into words,” Tevis said.

Even though Tevis is excited for future ventures, he has bittersweet feelings about his retirement.

“It’s time for new blood to come in and have new goals for the band. I will miss working with colleagues, especially with Rocky Winslow. We see a lot of the same things in students,” added Tevis.

His colleague Dan Kinkle, a Department of Music and Theatre faculty member, summed up his feelings about Tevis in his Facebook post.

“He is a wonderful man, musician, and colleague!”

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Story by Tashia Jones, School of the Arts publicity assistant


About the Symphonic Winds Ensemble

The Symphonic Winds Ensemble is a highly select, auditioned band that has its roots in university bands that have been around since the early 1900s. It officially became the Symphonic Winds Ensemble in 2000. It is directed by Royce Tevis, Department of Music and Theatre faculty member. Members of this ensemble are CSU, Chico students of any major who play flute, clarinet, saxophone, low woodwind, horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, or a percussion instrument. The band plays a variety of traditional and contemporary music for wind ensembles. Performances during the semester include a series of on-campus and off-campus concerts as well as tours and performances at professional music conventions.


About the Director

Royce Tevis picture, portrait style

Royce Tevis has earned national recognition for quality performances of both high school and university bands under his direction for forty years. Prior to coming to California State University, Chico, he served for eight years as Director of Bands at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA. Tevis has served as the treasurer of the California Band Directors Association and as the head of performing arts units for sixteen years in California public school districts.  He was a band and orchestra director for sixteen years in California public schools, was a trumpet instructor at the Peninsula Conservatory of Music, and served as an army bandsman. Currently, as the director of University Bands at CSU, Chico, he conducts the Wind Ensemble, the Symphonic Band, and works with all aspects of the University Band Program. Tevis teaches courses in conducting, wind literature, and instrumental education.

 
Up Close & Personal with CSU, Chico Director of Bands Royce Tevis