Concord Band Soars in “Flights of Fancy” Concert (review)
Concord, Mass, March 10, 2014 —
On March 8th at 8 PM, the Concord Band presented their Winter Concert, dubbed
“Flights of Fancy,” to resounding appreciation by the audience.
Music Director Jim O’Dell and the trumpet soloist, Lewis Buckley, along
with all of the band members have robbed me of the opportunity to criticize
any aspects of this event, because this was as close to a flawless performance
as I have ever witnessed.
The band played as a tight ensemble with impeccable intonation and magnificent
It was truly a delightful experience!
I am going to note these selections out of order, focusing on the aesthetic
impact rather than the chronological.
“Beyond the Horizon” by Rossano Galante is a lush representation
of the earth’s far-away bounds, and it features soaring melodic lines
and majestically blended brass.
“People who live in Glass Houses” by John Philip Sousa, with
movements titled The Champaignes, The Rhine Wines, The Whiskies and The
Convention of the Cordials may seem to be a bit of an odd inclusion in a
program about flight, but as Jim O’Dell pointed out in his opening
comments, “You can get selections, called “flights”, of
beers in a tavern, and these individuals are all capable of getting us a
The movements also take the listener to various countries around the world, on
a potable voyage of the senses.
The band performed this whimsical number with facility and great good humor, a
very satisfying piece indeed.
“Aerial Fantasy” by Michael Mogensen is filled with rich imagery,
from roaring takeoff to aerial acrobatics.
Solo passages by Louanne Mackenzie on oboe and David Purinton on clarinet were
sweet and moving.
“Wings Across America” by Roger Cichy is a spirited piece with
sudden changes in style, rhythm and mood.
The band played this elegant piece, which contains a tremendous variation of
the U.S. Air Force song “Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder,”
with grace and style.
“Apollo” by John Pennington, was penned in 1968, during the time
of the Apollo space exploration missions.
This aleatoric piece depends on the musicians creating their own musical
interpretation at timed intervals.
It is un-scored but for the time markings, dynamic suggestions and a flute
The band created a marvelous vision of takeoff and flight, as seen from the
Apollo capsule, and created a very stirring rendition of what it might be like
to soar beyond the stratosphere.
Lewis Buckley is both a talented composer and a virtuoso of the trumpet,
although you will not hear this from his own lips.
He is a delightful, self-effacing gentleman who brings style and virtuosity to
“The Yellow Rose of Texas Variations” a piece he penned from the
traditional melody, and “Tribute to Doc” (formerly
“Bell-Flight”), in honor of trumpeter Doc Severinsen.
These pieces were originally written for soloists in the Coast Guard Band, but
Buckley brought them to life with his own inimitable style on Saturday night.
His performance was clean and precise, and he cautioned the front row of the
audience that they might be sorry they sat there.
At the end of “Tribute” he apologized to the woman in front of
I found this very amusing, but he did hit notes that were “out of this
One final note on this program, and I feel it needs to stand alone.
“Dusk” by Steven Bryant is a thinly-scored piece (instrumentals
are exposed and must be spot-on accurate in intonation and style) which is
evocative of the end of the day, the colors and sounds of impending night.
From the meditative horn solo at the beginning to the final burst of glorious
sunlight just before the day slips away, this magnificent performance brought
me to tears, and I was not alone in this.
This was the best performance of “Dusk” that I have heard to date,
and I have heard many.
Bravo to the band!
Bravo to Lew Buckley!
And, Bravo to Jim O’Dell, who has brought this band so far!
— Vanessa Rene, March 10, 2014
For additional information, contact Ken Troup,
Concord Band Publicity.
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