Concord Band Fall 2010 Concert Review
Concord, Mass, October 31, 2010 —
On Saturday, October 23, the Concord Band presented its Fall Concert at
the 51 Walden Performing Arts Center in Concord.
The program consisted of a nice selection of well known works mixed with
less well known, but still very accessible compositions.
I will resist the temptation to discuss the highlights of each individual
piece because the overall quality of the concert was remarkably high, the
entire band membership deserves kudos, and the musical comments apply
throughout the program.
The opening piece, Manatee Lyric Overture by Robert Sheldon,
was commissioned by the Manatee County Florida School Board and premiered
by a high school honor band.
It is an excellent and uplifting work that deserves to be heard more
This was followed by Vincent Persichetti’s Pageant, a
polytonal work which begins with a contemplative section followed by a
lively parade section and a stirring climax.
The next piece on the program, March of the Belgian Paratroopers
by Pierre Liemans, contains one of those melodies which is hard to
It’s slow for a march but has the feel of relentless driving force.
Rounding out the first section of the concert were five movements from
Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, transcribed for
band by Erik Leidzen.
This piece needs no introduction and the Leidzen transcription for band
works very well.
After the intermission, the band continued with a performance of
The Fairest of the Fair by Sousa, edited by Frederick Fennell,
that would surely have met with bandmaster Fennell’s approval.
Next was Norman Dello Joio’s Scenes from the Louvre.
Originally written for orchestra, this superb piece has become a staple
of the band literature.
This was followed by Lewis J. Buckley’s
Con Sabor Español (With a Spanish Flavor), an expansion of
a piece originally written as a test to audition conductors.
The final work on the program was Leonard Bernstein’s delightful
Wrong Note Rag.
Fortunately this program was video recorded for broadcast on the local
cable station because it really deserved a larger audience than can be
provided at the 51 Walden location.
Throughout the evening I was struck by the overall performance quality.
Rhythm, probably the most persuasive element of music, was solid and
Intonation was excellent, especially notable among the woodwinds which
can be the most difficult to keep in tune.
Articulation and phrasing of the various individual solos were
Attention to dynamics, smoothness of transitions, and a generally
“crystalline” nature of the performances contributed to a
fuller appreciation by the audience of each of the pieces.
The members of the Concord Band are drawn from the greater Concord
Most have “day jobs” which prevent them from making the
time commitment to practice expected of a professional musician.
Nevertheless they continually find a way to come together as a unit to
provide greater Concord audiences with exceptional live musical
Over the years the quality of the Concord Band’s performances has
continued to improve.
The credit for this continued and even improving excellence must go first
and foremost to the Concord Band membership.
The governing board, consisting of band members, has consistently shown
great wisdom in directing the activities of the band and in selecting
outstanding music directors.
They have chosen directors who, along with excellent conducting
technique, relate well with the band membership on a personal level, are
sensitive to the membership’s interests, and possess extraordinary
musical leadership skills.
They have continued to exhibit this wisdom by selecting
James O’Dell to replace recently retired William McManus.
Like McManus, Mr. O’Dell is a renowned music educator.
Throughout the concert Mr. O’Dell had full command of the band with
just the sort of restrained but very clear conducting style that amateur
The music he chose to program was such that I would like to have it all
in my iPod.
His stage presence and willingness to discuss the works with the audience
added to the enjoyment.
Clearly the band has again selected their Music Director wisely.
For more than a decade the Concord Band has been giving summer
performances to large audiences at the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, MA.
The remainder of the Concord Band’s concerts are held at the
center at 51 Walden Street in Concord.
These 51 Walden concerts offer the opportunity to hear the band in a more
intimate setting and are enthusiastically recommended for audiences of
all ages and all musical persuasions.
Consider getting your tickets now for the upcoming Holiday Pops on
December 10 and 11.
Those tickets go fast.
— Richard Chick
For additional information, contact Peter Norton,
Concord Band Publicity.
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