Sunday, December 14, 2014

Building the Concert Band Audience

John Philip Sousa conducted the
Marine Band (1880–1892) and
the Sousa Band (1892–1931).
The Concord Band has multiple objectives, and we continue to make progress on most of them. For example, we continue to be one of the leading forces among community concert bands, world-wide, in the commissioning of new music for this ensemble.

The Concord Band, probably more than ever before, continues to present the very best in concert band music to the public in our area at reasonable cost. Why more than before? We now tackle great pieces of music for symphonic wind ensemble that would have been considered beyond our capability just a few years ago. For example, Aerial Fantasy, by Michael A. Mogensen, presented on our Winter, 2014, Concert program, was commissioned by the Washington, DC-based Air Force Band. Since its members are all professional musicians, they, according to Mogensen, “could play anything” he wrote—and he admits that this is a difficult piece to play.

One significant area where the Concord Band has not achieved its objective is in building our audience. And we are not alone among concert bands in this respect. Probably the best symphonic wind ensemble in New England, now that the Air Force Band of Liberty no longer exists, is the Metropolitan Wind Symphony—like the Concord Band, a community band with no paid members. However, many of its members were either trained as music performers or as music teachers. They are a wonderful group, but they have as much trouble building an audience as does the Concord Band.

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