|Composer Percy Aldridge Granger|
Music Director Dr. William G. McManus will open the concert with the Mad Major March, a distinctly British march by Kenneth J. Alford. Alford was as famous in England for his marches as Sousa was in the United States.
In recognition of the recent passing of Alfred Reed, one of the greatest band composers of the twentieth century, the Band will perform Reed’s lovely composition Music in the Air! The Concord Band has performed numerous compositions by Alfred Reed over the years and had recently commissioned Dr. Reed to compose a piece for the Band, which the composer had not yet begun.
Paul Berler, Assistant Conductor of the Concord Band, will take the podium to conduct a four-movement sinfonietta for concert band titled Chelmsford Common. This contemporary work, composed by Dr. Michael Annicchiarico, who is on the music faculty of the University of New Hampshire, was commissioned by the Chelmsford Community Band. The world premiere was presented by the Chelmsford Community Band in July of 2002 with Paul Berler conducting.
Concord Band clarinetist Steve Barbas of Chelmsford will be leaving the band at the end of the season to begin a master’s degree in wind ensemble conducting at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Steve, who is the band director at Waltham High School, has been invited to conduct a piece in this concert. He has chosen Shirim, a rhapsody for band based on Jewish folk songs. The work was composed by Belgian composer Piet Swerts. The title Shirim is Hebrew for “songs.” This exciting rhapsody provides a clear example of typical Jewish folk songs.
Music Director McManus will return to the podium with guest trumpet soloist Terry Everson to perform Essays for Solo Trumpet and Wind Ensemble by Gary Ziek. This four-movement suite, composed in 2001, was written for tonight’s soloist. The movements of the suite are “Fanfare,” “Gallop,” “Ballad,” and “Dance.” Each of these movements is written in a contrasting style, featuring a wide array of trumpet techniques.
Following the intermission, the Concord Band will play three compositions by Australian composer Percy Grainger. Grainger is one of band music’s most important and influential composers. The Grainger works being performed include The Gum-Suckers March, Ye Banks and Braes O’ Bonnie Doon, and Lincolnshire Posy.
“Gum-suckers” is a nickname for Australians born in the home state of the composer (Victoria). The leaves of the “gum” (eucalyptus) trees are very refreshing to suck in the parching summer weather. This march, composed for military band and “tuneful percussion,” is full of humor and musical surprises. The Gumsucker’s March is truly a delight.
Ye Banks and Braes O’ Bonnie Doon is a slow, sustained Scottish folk song. Grainger’s beautiful setting of this folk song for band was published in 1901.
Lincolnshire Posy, one of the major works in the concert band repertoire, is Grainger’s most beloved and well known piece. It is based upon folksongs he collected in Lincolnshire, England in 1905- 06. The six movements are titled “Lisbon Bay,” “Horkstow Grange,” “Rufford Park Poachers,” “The Brisk Young Sailor,” “Lord Melbourne,” and “The Lost Lady Found.” This extremely challenging composition is a masterpiece by one of the band’s most important and influential composers.