Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spotlight: Roger Cichy

Roger Cichy
Composer and Conductor
Since the appearance of his first published work in 1985, Roger Cichy has been a prolific composer whose works often paint experiences and emotions on a canvas of sound. The composer’s works contain a number of signature elements, among them is his unique use of rhythm and pronounced use of percussion. In many of his works, Cichy employs what he calls “compelling rhythms”, whose repetition drive his melodies forward. His appreciation for percussion’s unlimited sounds and timbres is also notable. Cichy’s work is further defined by his fondness for jazz rhythms, liberal use of strong countermelodies, and thick harmonic texture.

Roger Cichy brings his background as a music educator to his work as a composer. Roger holds a Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts in Music Education degree from The Ohio State University, but also did extensive study in composition with Edward Montgomery, Marshall Barnes and Joseph Levey at Ohio State. He has directed concert bands and marching bands at the elementary, high school and college levels, serving as Director of Bands at both the University of Rhode Island and Iowa State University.

Today, Roger is a freelance composer and arranger, writing for high school, university and professional bands, professional orchestras, and the commercial music industry. His works range from small ensembles literature to compositions and arrangements for marching band, concert band, and symphonic orchestra. He has over 300 compositions and arrangements to his name, including those published by Daehn Publications, C. Alan Publications, and LudwigMasters Publications. Cichy’s music has been recorded by premier ensembles such as the North Texas Wind Symphony, the United States Air Force Academy Band and the University of Georgia Wind Symphony. He has received numerous composition awards from The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) for serious music.

The music of Roger Cichy is continually being performed throughout the United State and abroad. His works have also been performed at many prestigious conventions including the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinics, CBDNA National and Regional Conventions, ASBDA Conventions, MENC National and Regional Conventions, several All-State Festivals and appear on many contest lists throughout the country. In 2008, Mark Masters released a CD recording of Cichy’s music titled Sounds Sketches and Ideas, which received Grammy listings in three categories.

Cichy is widely sought as a composer for commissions and frequently appears as a composer-in-residence and guest conductor.

2009 Winter Concert

50th Anniversary Concert

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Concord Band

William M. Toland, Music Director Laureate
Dr. William G. McManus, Music Director Emeritus
James R. O'Dell, Music Director
Roger Cichy, Guest Conductor

Program

William M. Toland conducting
His HonorHenry Fillmore; ed. Foster
Satiric Dances for a Comedy by AristophanesNorman Dello Joio
  1. Allegro pesante
  2. Adagio mesto
  3. Allegro spumante
Dr. William G. McManus conducting
Armenian Dances, Part IAlfred Reed
MaybeBevan Manson/Words by Amanda Carr; arr. McManus
Amanda Carr, vocalist
Cheek to CheekIrving Berlin; arr. Seeco
Amanda Carr, vocalist
Dixieland Live!arr. Lewis J. Buckley
Lewis Buckley, trumpet

Intermission

James O'Dell conducting
Four Scottish DancesMalcolm Arnold; arr. Paynter
  1. Pesante
  2. Vivace
  3. Allegretto
  4. Con Brio
Allegro from Concerto in B-flat MajorW. A. Mozart; trans. Yeago
Nathaniel Hefferman, bassoon
The Phantom of the OperaAndrew Lloyd Webber; arr. Barker
Roger Cichy conducting
Flowing Pens from ConcordRoger Cichy
  1. Mosses from an Old Manse
  2. Little Women
  3. Walden
  4. Nature
World Premiere Performance

Read all notes from this program...

His Honor

One of the most colorful bandsmen of the twentieth century, Henry Fillmore, probably wrote, arranged, and edited more band music over his 50-year career than any other composer/bandmaster in history. The march His Honor was dedicated to Mayor Russell Wilson of Cincinnati. (Source: William M. Toland)

Satiric Dances

Satiric Dances, the Concord Band’s first major commission, was written to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the events in Concord of 1775. The financing for the commission came from private donations and the Eastern National Park and Monument Association in cooperation with the National Park Service. Norman Dello Joio agreed to do the commission but stipulated it would be a piece he had used as background music for a comedy by Aristophanes. Dello Joio took a special interest in the commission and came to Band rehearsals to offer suggestions on the performance. After the scheduled first performance was rained out, Satiric Dances was premiered on July 17, 1975 at Minuteman National Park with Norman Dello Joio and his family in attendance. Satiric Dances was published shortly after that, and it has become one of the best selling and most performed pieces of the concert band repertoire. (Source: William M. Toland)

Armenian Dances

Armenian Dances, Parts 1 and II, constitute a four-movement work for concert band by Alfred Reed based on the authentic Armenian folk songs from the collected works of Gomidas Vartabed (1869-1935), the founder of Armenian classical music. Armenian Dances, Part I, containing the first movement of the suite, is an extended symphonic rhapsody built upon five different songs, freely treated and developed in terms of the modern integrated concert band. The music will be found to remain true in spirit to the work of this brilliant composer-musicologist, who almost single-handedly preserved and gave the world a treasure trove of beautiful folk music. (Source: published score)

Maybe, Cheek to Cheek

Jazz vocalist Amanda Carr has appeared frequently with the Concord Band over the past several years and she has become a favorite with Concord Band audiences. Maybe, an original bossa nova composed by Amanda and pianist Bevan Manson, appeared on Amanda’s CD “Carr Toons.” This beautiful bossa nova has been especially arranged for Amanda and the Concord Band by retiring Music Director, Bill McManus. Amanda will also perform the great Irving Berlin song Cheek to Cheek, arranged for the Concord Band by Milford jazz artist Jerry Seeco. (WGM)

Dixieland Live!

Dixieland Live! is a medley of four great Dixieland tunes arranged for the Concord Band by Lewis Buckley. Concord Band percussionist Neil Tischler commissioned this work in 2001 in celebration of his 29 years with the Concord Band. The tunes included in the arrangement are “At the Jazz Band Ball,” “The Beale Street Blues,” “The Saint James Infirmary,” and “Tiger Rag.” Composer Lewis Buckley joined the Concord Band playing trumpet in the Dixieland ensemble on the occasion of the Band 50th anniversary concert. (WGM)

Four Scottish Dances

The dances of Four Scottish Dances were composed by Malcolm Arnold early in 1957, and are dedicated to the BBC Light Music Festival. All are based on original melodies except one, the melody of which was composed by Robert Burns.
  • The first dance is in the style of a slow strathsprey—a slow Scottish dance in 4/4 meter—with many dotted notes, frequently in the inverted (reversed) arrangement of the “Scottish Snap.” The name was derived from the Strath valley of Sprey.
  • The second, a lively reel, begins in the key of E-flat and rises a semitone (half step) each time it is played until the bassoon plays it, at a greatly reduced speed, in the key of G. The final statement of the dance is at the original speed in the home key of E-flat.
  • The third dance is in the style of a Hebridean song, and attempts to give the impression of the sea and mountain scenery on a calm summer’s day in the Hebrides.
  • The last dance is a lively fling, originally scored to make a great deal of use of the open-string pitches of the violin. 

(Source: Band Music Notes third edition, Norman Smith and Albert Stoutamire)

Concerto in B-flat Major

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart scored the Concerto in B-flat Major for bassoon solo, two oboes, two horns, and strings. It is the earliest surviving concerto for a wind instrument by Mozart (dated 1774), and is likely one work of a small series commissioned by Munich amateur Baron Thaddeus von D├╝rnitz. Mozart exploits the unique and distinctive qualities of the bassoon: contrasting registers, rapid note repetition and passages, staccato articulation punctuation, and beautiful instrumental color. In developing this arrangement for band, Charles Yeago distributes the string parts among the woodwinds and keeps the transparency of the piece intact, including all embellishments of the period. (JRO)

Phantom of the Opera

Now celebrating its twentieth anniversary, Phantom of the Opera is undoubtedly one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most beloved and wellknown musical scores. This arrangement by Warren Barker includes the memorable selections “Think of Me,” “Angel of Music,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “All I Ask of You,” “The Point of No Return,” and “The Music of the Night.” Having debuted on October 9th, 1986 in London’s West End at Her Majesty’s Theatre, the musical first opened on Broadway at the Majestic Theater, January, 1988, and was swiftly the winner of seven Tony awards, and the longest-running musical in Broadway’s history. (JRO)

Flowing Pens from Concord

Composer Roger Cichy was inspired by the writings of four of Concord’s greatest authors to write a four-movement piece for concert band based on his interpretation of his feelings about these writings and the places associated with them. As with so many artists in the past, Cichy felt it necessary to travel to Concord to “come up with ideas” and to “get the feel of the place.” He visited Walden Pond, saw the cabin where Thoreau lived, saw the flute that Thoreau had played at Walden; visited Orchard House where Louisa May Alcott had lived and had written Little Women; saw the desk that her father had built for her; he went to the Old Manse and looked at the surrounding orchards and gardens and river. He wanted to soak up the atmosphere of the places, as well as read the words written by the four authors.

Cichy wanted there to be contrasts between all of the movements, from the more light-hearted attributes of the very young Little Women to the more all-encompassing thoughts about nature. The words he used to describe the entire piece were: “integrated, interconnected, perceiving things as a whole; so that the audience hears an overall integrated blend.” He said the audience members don’t even have to know all the details of either the words of each book or the compositional process, but he hopes they will be moved by the music itself, the variety in the different movements, and the overall integration of the piece.

The Old Manse is an “icon” in Concord, says Cichy, and he wrote a musical description not only of the Manse but also of the surrounding area: the orchards, gardens, willow trees, and river, which he feels are as much a part of the Manse as is the building itself. And he read the words by Hawthorne and thought about the “ghosts of the people who’d been there before,” since people who had inhabited the Manse had left old sermons, letters, and other writings there once they left. So his music speaks to both the iconic building and the writings by Hawthorne, his philosophies about life and nature.

When working on Little Women, Cichy would read a chapter, then compose, then read another chapter or two, then compose some more. In this movement he imagines the Alcott sisters when they were very young, with a lightness about them, before they became mature women. Cichy was amazed to learn that in 19th century Concord, it was not commonplace for women to have desks on which to write; and so Bronson Alcott built a desk for his daughter, Louisa May (Jo in Little Women); Cichy was surprised to see how small a desk it was, and was amazed at how much glorious writing had come from it.

Walden by Thoreau emphasizes how the author tried to simplify his life by living at Walden Pond, which inspired the slow movement of Cichy’s piece. This movement is all about the serenity in Thoreau’s Walden and his attempts to be at peace with the natural world. Cichy said he was also intrigued by the fact that Thoreau brought a flute with him to Walden Pond (which flute is now in The Concord Museum) and, thus, Cichy wrote a lovely flute solo in this movement.

Even though Emerson is perhaps better known for his writings on philosophy, Cichy chose his essay on “Nature” and admitted this was the most challenging movement of Flowing Pens from Concord for him to write. In this movement he used a “freer interpretation of this work,” based on the philosophy of nature, on how one perceives things, how one looks at things as a whole. This idea of integration is most pertinent in this movement, and reflects both the compositional techniques he used and the overall spirit of the music. Cichy said that a concert band, even though it is a large ensemble of 65 members with 34 individual parts written for it in this piece, should be thought of as a single ensemble, and he worked to blend all those 34 parts into one unified whole. Ultimately the audience hears a blended “whole” piece of music and not just a variety of individual parts. For example, Cichy said, the percussion parts are an integral part of the overall rhythmic and musical scheme, not just providing rhythm as background. Their parts are all integrated with the others, interconnected into the overall blend. And this is very much in the spirit of Emerson’s writings on “Nature.”

(Source: Roger Cichy)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lifetime Service Award Given to Percussionist Daniel S. Diamond

Daniel S. Diamond
Percussion
In 2002 the Concord Band Board of Trustees introduced the Lifetime Service Award to honor individuals whose participation, over a significant span of time, has made a fundamental difference to the Concord Band. At its 50th Anniversary Concert, it was awarded to Daniel S. Diamond.

His award plaque reads as follows:
Percussionist Dan Diamond joined the Band in 1970 and has served on its Board almost continuously since then. He has worked tirelessly as fundraiser, organizer of mailings, designer and printer of programs, posters and newsletters, mover of percussion equipment, liaison with outside organizations and on many other tasks. Along the way Dan has been responsible for many innovative improvements, such as the Band logo, the fundraising database, the production of concert and commercial CDs and videos, the Band’s mission statement, percussion cabinets, the pops raffle, the newsletter and the Lifetime Service Award program. The Band truly would not be where it is today without Dan’s thoughtful guidance and selfless contributions.
An Honor Roll is displayed prominently in the 51 Walden lobby listing all those who have received this very special award.

Past Award recipients have been Bill Burdine and William Toland (2002), CarlGetz and Robert Turkington (2003), GeneParish and William R. Phelan (2004), EdRichter and Bill Siebert (2005), Jerry Welts (2006), Barbara Cataldo (2007) and Dr.William G. McManus (2008).

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