Thursday, October 30, 2014

Concord Band Delights in Saturday Performance

By Patricia Lake

Posted on Wicked Local

Music Director James O'Dell
conducting the Concord Band.
Concord, October 27, 2014 — The Concord Band performance this past Saturday evening, titled “Monuments,” was a pleasure to attend.

From the opening horn solo in Smith’s Monument, nicely played by Cameron Owen, one knew that The Concord Band was off to a good start. The band produced an effective balance and blend between the winds, brass, and percussion sections. The first flute beautifully repeated the opening horn solo and the flute duet that followed was quite lovely. The final movement, “Pioneer Spirit and Dance” was raucous, great fun, and a wonderful ending to the piece.

The Concord Band clearly excels at playing marches and “Bunker Hill March” by Karl King did not disappoint. The tight rhythmic lines throughout the ensemble made room for intricate solo lines to be heard. The attention to dynamic contrast was spot on and very much appreciated by this brass player.

David Purinton’s touching tribute to his 90 year-old father, a WWII veteran who served on the USS Lamar as a radio ham, preceded Victory at Sea by Richard Rodgers. The senior Mr. Purinton received a standing ovation and stood to acknowledge the audience. It was a pleasant treat to experience this piece as an audience member rather than from within the ensemble. The lament of the first trumpet, Arthur Magazu, clearly portrayed hopeless and total destruction followed by the hopeful and beautiful hymn that was very well played at the conclusion of the piece.

One had little difficulty imaging the majesty and immenseness of the sequoia tree while listening to Sparke’s The Spirit of the Sequoia. From the exquisite euphonium solo in the opening moments through lush chords leading to the haunting flute call and response with the saxophones, one couldn’t help but imagine walking through the forest of these giants of the earth.

The second half of the performance opened with the Grofe’ Themes from Grand Canyon Suite and some very nice work was heard from the low brass section.

The Concord Band dedicated the next piece, Threnos, by Daniel Bukvich, to the memory of Ralph and Barbara Cataldo, longtime band members who were tragically killed in an automobile accident. The clean rhythms and articulations coupled with the beautifully executed solos, too numerous to mention individually, made Threnos a powerful piece when taken in the context of the quotes upon which it was based.

Arthur Magazu and Cynthia Blanchard played a rousing rendition of the “Eiffel Tower Polka” by Franics Poulenc. This cute and short–maybe a little too short–piece provided a nice, light, toe-tapping contrast to the program. Sadly, the clarinets did overpower the trumpet soloists at times.

The Concord Band concluded its program with Julie Giroux’s K2: The Savage Mountain. The very personable conductor, James O’Dell, provided an amusing explanation of the various motifs portrayed throughout the piece. A particular favorite was the “low oxygen” motif , well played by the solo trombone. The Concord Band expertly wove the seven motifs into a mesmerizing portrayal of a most dangerous mountain. I know that this horn player will be hoping for an opportunity to play this piece in the future.

The Concord Band left the audience at the top of K2 feeling exhilarated and wanting more. Well-done Concord Band—Monumental!

Patricia Lake is the owner of “The Joyful Noise Project,”specializing in early childhood music and movement, children’s theatre and private lessons. Additionally, she is the director of children’s ministries at Faith Baptist Church in Auburn. She lives in Shrewsbury with her husband Brian (also a brass player) and maintains an active private French horn studio. She is a member of the Concord Orchestra and works as a freelance horn player in the greater Central Massachusetts area.

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