Monday, October 31, 2016

Concord Band Performs to Nearly Full House

Review by Grant Anderson

To a nearly full house on October 22, the Concord Band gave a very musical and unusual concert at 51 Walden in Concord center. Musical because of the skill of the band’s Music Director Jim O’Dell and the band’s many skilled musicians. Unusual because the marches were both embedded within larger compositions: the Third Suite of Robert Jager and the Suite on Celtic Folk Songs of Tomohiro Tatebe. I missed Sousa, but these two movements tapped my feet and tickled my ears—including the unmistakable bagpipe sounds in the Celtic march.

The concert started with Boston Liberties, a band commission from 2002. Many band members were featured here by composer Julie Giroux—especially Ken Troup on orchestra bells, Carol Messina on trumpet, David Southard on alto sax, and Dave Purinton on clarinet. The entire brass section really bounced in the final movement, "A Penny a Ton."

David Purinton
clarinet
Being a clarinet player myself, von Weber’s Clarinet Concertino was my favorite of the program. That’s biased, isn’t it? Dave Purinton bravely attacked and performed this difficult solo piece. I admire him for that. Bravo, Dave: lyrical and musical playing throughout.

Dan Diamond
percussion
The night’s second soloist was Dan Diamond, on snare drum in Ravel’s Boléro. Ravel once said that his Boléro theme has an “insistent quality,” and Dan’s snare drum emphasized that insistence. Dan’s forty-seven years in the band have not reduced his percussion stamina, that’s for sure. Bravo, Dan. In addition to Dan’s overarching snare, the whole composition was beautifully played by the full band, especially the solo licks that start it out and the rousing full-band conclusion.

La Fiesta Mexicana of H. Owen Reed was another audience favorite. The entire percussion section played with full confidence to start the composition’s "Prelude and Aztec Dance." The joint solo by bass and contra-bass clarinets had a chilling and throaty blend to it. Cam Owen performed well on French horn in the "Mass" section, while the "Carnival" section was bouncy, syncopated and fun.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Fall Concert 2016

Suite Spots

The Concord Band

James O’Dell, Music Director

Program
Boston LibertiesJulie Giroux
  1. Boston Harbor
  2. Facts Are Stubborn Things
  3. Granary Grounds
  4. A Penny a Ton
Concertino, Opus 26Carl Maria von Weber;
arr. Reed; ed. McCathren
David Purinton, clarinet soloist
La Fiesta MexicanaH. Owen Reed
  1. Prelude and Aztec Dance
  2. Mass
  3. Carnival
Intermission
DanzonLeonard Bernstein;
arr. Krance
Third SuiteRobert E. Jager
  1. March
  2. Waltz
  3. Rondo
BoléroMaurice Ravel;
arr. Bocook
Dan Diamond, snare drum soloist
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas TallisRalph Vaughan Williams;
arr. Bocook
Suite on Celtic Folk SongsTomohiro Tatebe
  1. March
  2. Air
  3. Reel
View all notes for this program...

Boston Liberties

Boston Liberties was commissioned by the Concord Band in 2002. Composer Julie Giroux wrote this four movement work in recognition of Boston as the maritime center of America in Colonial days. The first movement, “Boston Harbor,” is set in a traditional seafaring, swashbuckling style with a “touch of the Irish.” The second movement, “Facts are Stubborn Things,” is based on a quote from a speech John Adams made to a jury in Boston while defending the British soldiers involved in “The Boston Massacre.” The third movement is Julie Giroux’s personal reflection of her own time spent wandering on the grounds of historical cemeteries and wondering about the lives of the people buried there. The final movement depicts the mishaps, fires, fog cannon, explosions, ship horns, and other noises of Boston Harbor and the rebuilding and constant operation of the Boston Lighthouse. (Source: published score)

Concertino for Clarinet

Carl Maria von Weber’s Concertino, Opus 26, was first performed in 1811 and is one of the great works that make up the vast clarinet repertoire. Transcribed for band by noted arranger and composer Alfred Reed, the single-movement work features principal clarinetist and long-tenured Band member David Purinton. After a slow and “cantabile” (in a singing style) introduction, the main theme is simply stated and traverses a series of distinct, virtuosic, and complementary variations. (Source: JRO)

La Fiesta Mexicana

H. Owen Reed has subtitled La Fiesta Mexicana “A Mexican Folk Song Symphony in Three Movements”: Prelude and Aztec Dance, Mass, and Carnival. Each movement vividly portrays the elements that comprise the Mexican Fiesta. As Reed explains, “The Mexican ‘Fiesta,’ which is an integral part of the social structure, is a study in contrasts: it is both serious and comical, festive and solemn, devout and pagan, boisterous and tender. (Source: published score)

Danzon

Danzon (from the ballet “Fancy Free”) was commissioned and premiered by the American Ballet Theater in 1944 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. It is Leonard Bernstein’s spotlight on this dance in which the three sailors attempt to outdo each other, performing for an audience of beautiful girls while on shore leave. The dance is packed full of emotion and passion, set in a Latin-American style. (Source: published score)

Third Suite

In Third Suite by Robert Jager, the first movement is a march which is altered rhythmically by the use of alternating meter signatures. The second movement is a waltz which continues the mixed meter alteration idea and features oboe, flutes, bassoon, and brass sections. The Rondo is full of fun and bright tunes, which are developed near the end, followed by a quick coda stating the main theme once again. (Source: Band Music Notes/Norman Smith and Albert Stoutamire)

Boléro

Boléro is one of Maurice Ravel’s most recognized works and is based on the musical form and Spanish dance of the same name. With a repeating and insistent ostinato and snare drum accompaniment, the piece features percussionist Dan Diamond (the Band’s longest serving member), as well as solos for clarinet, flute, and trumpet. A subtle and slow forward momentum builds from the beginning piano to fortissimo, all the time adding variations in instrumentation. The final climax brings all musical forces to bear as the work crescendos to a dynamic conclusion. (Source: JRO)

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

Ralph Vaughan Williams was a contemporary of Gustav Holst, and, with him and a few others, penned many of the works that make up the standard canon of works written specifically for band in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis has been superbly arranged by Jay Bocook to capture and retain the sostenuto, expansive style, simple beauty and mood of the original orchestral setting. (Source: JRO)

Suite on Celtic Folk Songs

Composer and arranger of Suite on Celtic Folk Songs, Tomohiro Tatebe, writes “Celtic ancestors, after conquering agrarian cultures in middle Europe, migrated to Ireland and other places. The so-called ‘Celt’ culture was a blend of those migrants and indigenous peoples of the northern island. This suite for wind band consists of three Old Irish melodies handed down through the generations. The ‘March’ is led by a characteristically accented drum; the beautiful and nostalgic ‘Air’ features the piccolo presenting the image of a simple fife; and the ‘Reel’ is a typical Irish dance of very quick tempo.” (Source: published score)

Dan Diamond, Percussion Soloist

Dan Diamond
percussion
Dan Diamond joined the Concord Band 47 years ago, and is still having fun as its senior member. He has been enamored of the snare drum since 1953 and has worked to improve his skills since 1958, when Springfield Symphony percussionist Warren Myers told him that his roll sounded like a bushel of apples falling down a flight of stairs. He has an SB and PhD from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and cofounded Harvard Software and Facsimilies, Ltd. In retirement Dan spends most of his time doing the kinds of things that earned him the Band’s Lifetime Service Award in 2009. Since January, he has been designing the Dream Center for the Performing Arts and has found the life of an amateur architect most agreeable.

David Purinton, Clarinet Soloist

David Purinton
clarinet
David likes to think of himself as a classic example of the value and importance of music education in the early years. David started clarinet in the fourth grade in the Concord school system, continued through high school, and went to Lowell State College as a music major. A career in music did not follow, but because of his background in instrumental music, he joined the Concord Band in 1973 and has played with the band for the past 42 years. David became principal clarinetist and concertmaster of the band about 20 years ago, and enjoys the challenge of playing difficult music well, and also the camaraderie of the group. He is grateful for all of his experiences with the band and would like to see parents support music education programs and encourage young students to take up an instrument or choral music. The skills they learn can provide a lifetime of enjoyment as they have for David.

About the Concord Band

THE CONCORD BAND was founded in 1959 as a marching unit for Concord’s Patriot’s Day parade, but since 1970 has been exclusively a concert organization, playing fourteen or more concerts each year. The sixty-five-member Band performs regularly at its permanent home, the Performing Arts Center at 51 Walden Street in Concord, at its summer home at Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts, and at Concord’s “Picnic in the Park” on Independence Day. The Band has also played summer concerts in the towns of Belmont, Bolton, Hudson and Littleton, Massachusetts, and Milford and Nashua, New Hampshire. The Concord Band, once described by then University of Massachusetts Director of Bands Malcolm W. Rowell as “a wonderful ensemble with a marvelous history...a cultural treasure,” also participates frequently in the annual Boston Festival of Bands held in Faneuil Hall each June.

In 2013 the Concord Band received the Sudler Silver Scroll from the John Philip Sousa Foundation. This award “recognizes community concert bands of outstanding musical excellence” and is “North America’s most prestigious award for community concert bands”. The Concord Band was the first community band in New England to receive the Sudler Silver Scroll.

Members of the Band represent many area communities and a wide variety of professions. Band members have played in the organization for an average of nearly sixteen years; sixteen have been members for twenty-five years or more. Many are alumni of prestigious college, military, or professional bands.

Over the years, the Band has engaged numerous noted guest conductors. These have included Frederick Fennell, William Revelli, Arnald Gabriel, Leonard B. Smith, John Corley, Willis Traphagan, Peter Hazzard, Lee Chrisman, James Curnow, Steven Grimo, Thomas G. Everett, Alfred Dentino, Christopher Morehouse, Paul Berler, William H. Silvester, Malcolm W. Rowell, Steven Barbas, Elliot Del Borgo and Keith Brion.

Lt. Col. Steven Grimo, then commander of the US Air Force Academy Band, has described the Concord Band as “true Patriots and the Soul of New England. The Concord Band is truly a Community Band with a professional attitude. They enjoy the experience of making music and know how to Make it Happen!”

Since 1967 the Band has either commissioned or has had written for it 79 new works for symphonic wind ensemble—possibly more than any other community band in the world. Such works have been written by composers Norman Dello Joio, Peter Hazzard, Richard Cornell, Robert Sirota, John Bavicchi, Douglas Toland, Kurt Phinney, Warren Barker, John Higgins, James Curnow, Thomas J. McGah, Dan Lutz, Stephen Bulla, William Gordon, Lewis Buckley, Julie Giroux, Elliot Del Borgo, Jerry Seeco, Roger Cichy, Andrew Boysen, Jr., Rene Pfister, et al, and Jerry Vabulas, as well as by the Band's Music Director Laureate, the late William M. Toland, and Music Director Emeritus, Dr. William G. McManus.

The Concord Band’s published CDs, A Winter Festival, The Best of the Concord Band in Concert: 1992-1994, and The Concord Band Salutes America—as well as concert audio and video recordings, limited edition discs available to friends of the Band—are a great way to preserve one’s memory of the Band.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Band Members Featured in Fall Concert

By Ken Troup

The Concord Band begins its 2016-17 season with a concert entitled "Suite Spots". The concert, led by Music Director James O'Dell, will take place at 51 Walden, The Performing Arts Center in Concord, MA, at 8:00 PM, Saturday, October 22, 2016. Admission is free; contributions are welcome at the door. Two long-time band members are featured in solos: Dan Diamond, the longest serving member of the Band, percussion section leader, and member of the Board of Trustees, will play the snare drum solo in Maurice Ravel’s Boléro. David Purinton, a member since 1973, will play the clarinet solo in Carl Maria von Weber’s Concertino. The program also includes four suites written for band and three transcriptions for band to round out the “suite spots.”

Dan Diamond
percussion
Boléro is one of Ravel’s most recognized works and is based on the musical form and Spanish dance of the same name. With a repeating ostinato and snare drum accompaniment, featuring percussionist Dan Diamond, this arrangement by Jay Bocook slowly builds from piano to fortissimo, all the time adding variations in instrumentation. The final climax brings all musical forces to bear as the work crescendos to a dynamic conclusion. Dan Diamond played in bands and orchestras in Springfield schools and MIT before settling in the Boston area and joining the Concord Band in 1970. He is a Concord Band Lifetime Service Award recipient, honoring his decades of service to the band as percussionist, board member, fundraising chairman, newsletter editor, and video executive producer and editor, just to name a few.

David Purinton
clarinet
The Weber Concertino, Opus 26, was written in 1811 and was arranged for band by Bruce R. Smith. This single-movement work features solo clarinet in a series of distinct and complementary variations. Weber composed two clarinet concertos the same year in his native Germany and was a prominent opera and orchestra composer until his death from tuberculosis in 1826 at the age of only 39. David Purinton, the clarinet soloist, is a Concord native who now lives in Devens and is the concertmaster of the Band.

Boston Liberties, by Julie Giroux, a prominent band composer originally from Massachusetts, was commissioned by The Concord Band in 2003. Most significant for this fall, the fourth movement of the suite pays tribute to Boston Light, the oldest lighthouse in the U.S., which just celebrated its 300th anniversary in September. Titled “A Penny a Ton,” the movement notes the early tax on cargo that helped pay for and maintain Boston Light. The other movements depict images of Boston Harbor and the Old Granary Grounds Cemetery, as well as a tribute to John Adams’ role as defense counsel for the British soldiers following the Boston Massacre, when he said “Facts are Stubborn Things.”

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Diamond Dreams of Performing Arts Center

Dan Diamond, left, designer of the Dream Center for the Performing Arts,
answers questions about an interior elevation drawing of the building
for John Rabinowitz.
By Venessa Rene

Originally published in the Concord Journal

“For years I have been dreaming about what the ideal performing arts center for the Concord area might look like,” said Dan Diamond, 47-year member of the Concord Band and 11 years as a past member of the Concord Orchestra. This past January, when the potential Powerball jackpot was approaching $1 billion, he speculated about what he would do if he won. High on his list was to build his dream.

“I decided that because (until it is built) there will always be a need for a building like this, I should document my design.”
This design, which Diamond refers to as the Dream Center for the Performing Arts and was essentially complete by the end of May, has not been requested by or produced with the support or endorsement of any organization. The first public showing of Diamond’s proposal for the Dream Center will take place at 51 Walden, Concord, for a week beginning on Oct. 22.

As wonderful as it is, according to Diamond, the shortcomings of 51 Walden, Concord’s current performing arts center, are generally well understood — insufficient capacity (the building is booked nearly solid as a performance venue except in the summer), insufficient seating (for music performances, the maximum audience size is 250), no rehearsal space outside of the auditorium, lack of essential storage space, acoustical problems, insufficient ventilation and lack of air-conditioning — among other issues.

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