Concord Band Winter Concert Showcases Old and New Works
CONCORD, MA The Concord Band presented its annual Winter Concert
on Saturday, March 8th at 51 Walden. Under the leadership of Dr. William
G. McManus, Music Director and Dr. William H. Silvester, Guest Conductor,
the ensemble programmed an ambitious selection of primarily contemporary
works from the wind band repertoire.
A Festival Prelude, one of Alfred Reed's most widely-performed
concert band works, opened the performance. While the ensemble was
careful in its interpretation, this rendition was somewhat lacking in the
power and energy inherent in Reed's compositions. The next piece,
Repercussion by Robert H. Pearson, featured the band's highly
competent percussion section. This effective work also highlighted the
low woodwind section as well as flute and clarinet soloists, and provided
a welcome contrast to the heavily-scored Festival Prelude.
Trumpet soloist Sam Sheeler, a recent addition to the Concord Band,
performed the first movement of Oskar Böhme's Concerto in F Minor.
Sheeler's assertive playing was technically proficient and balanced quite
well with the band members. Likewise, the band members displayed
sensitivity as they accompanied the trumpeter, although they sometimes
struggled to play together, creating some slightly tentative moments. In
addition, while the Concerto in F Minor is historically significant
as the only authentic trumpet concerto of the Romantic Period, the piece was
somewhat out of place among the program's modern concert band works.
The pinnacle of the first half of the program was the world premiere of
Boston Liberties by award-winning composer Julie Giroux. Using the
theme of Colonial Boston, Giroux composed four short movements, with
Boston Harbor, the Boston Massacre, Granary Burying Grounds, and Boston
Light as her inspiration. Giroux has composed music for more than 100
films and television programs, and her media scoring background is evident
in this new composition for wind band. The result is an accessible work
for musicians and listeners alike. Boston Liberties sounds
well-suited to future performances by bands, with its catchy melodies and
often periodic feel, particularly given the connections to our country's
Dr. McManus returned in the second half of the concert to conduct
Havendance, an exciting single-movement piece by David Holsinger.
The band moved effortlessly through the extensive meter shifts, and
Dr. McManus skillfully handled the complexity of the piece with precision.
After Havendance Dr. McManus turned over the baton to Dr. William
Silvester, presently on the faculty of the College of New Jersey.
Dr. Silvester guest conducted the band in three pieces. American
Variations, composed by Jerry Bilik, was sandwiched between two widely
different works by Robert Jager, Third Suite and Espirit de
Corps. Bilik's work takes the familiar Scottish folk tune "Barbara
Allen" and weaves it through several stylistic settings, representing
America's diverse cultural heritage. The Third Suite was an
appealing yet challenging piece for a guest conductor to program, and
Espirit de Corps, written as a tribute to the United States Marine
Band, was an uplifting and thrilling finish to the concert.
In his parting comments, Dr. Silvester was generous in his praise of
the Concord Band, commending the musicians for their ability and
flexibility, particularly given the difficulty of the music he had chosen
for them. He also mentioned how he "broke his own rule" when he agreed to
conduct a community-based band, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that
the Concord Band is unique among organizations of its type. Given the
response of the evening's audience, it appears that many local concert
band music supporters hold the Concord Band in equally high regard.
Submitted by Rosemary Sears and Richard Romanoff
Both Rosemary Sears and Richard Romanoff are instrumental music
teachers in the Somerville Public Schools.
For additional information, contact Yvonne Dailey,
Concord Band Publicity.
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