David Southard, alto sax player with the Band since 1988, will be featured in two pieces: Persuasion by Sammy Nestico and Blue Sterling (Theme for Jerry) by Concord Band Music Director Emeritus Dr. William G. McManus. Richard Given, principal trumpet of the Concord Band since 2015, will play Jean Baptiste Arban’s Variations on the Carnival of Venice.
alto saxophone soloist
Bill McManus composed Blue Sterling (Theme for Jerry) in 2012 in memory of Dr. Gerald Kriedberg, longtime alto saxophonist with the Concord Band from 1973 until his death in 2012. Set in a moderate swing tempo, the soloist interweaves the melody through a series of clever “big band” background riffs and jazz harmonizations. McManus composed the piece as a commission from the Concord Band and Kriedberg’s widow and played the premiere on Jerry’s alto sax with the Concord Band in April 2013. Dave Southard played the solo at the Concord Band’s summer concert series at Fruitlands Museum in Harvard MA in July 2013.
Bright-Colored Dances by Metropolitan Wind Symphony Music Director and longtime friend of the Concord Band, Lewis J. Buckley, is a set of four dances for wind ensemble, based on the colors he envisioned when conceptualizing the four movements in 1997. According to Buckley, “The first, Butterfly Yellow, is introduced by the piccolo which represents a cheerful, yellow dash of color that happens upon a dark, empty stage. The dash of color takes a few experimental steps, sees that no one seems to mind, and breaks joyfully into the first dance.” The other three dances are Clarinet Green, Comic Royal Purple and Tarantella Red. Buckley said that it isn’t important that the listener envision the same colors as he did, “the magic of music is of the process that begins with the composer’s pen, is complete only when the music has interacted with the imagination of each individual listener.”
Blue Shades, written by esteemed band composer Frank Ticheli in 1997, was inspired by his own earlier work for jazz band and orchestra. In describing the piece, the composer writes “the work alludes to the Blues, and a jazz feeling is prevalent. Blues harmonies, rhythms, and melodic idioms pervade the work; and many ‘shades of blue’ are depicted, from bright blue, to dark, to dirty, to hot.” Ticheli also pays tribute to the big band era. He said the slow middle section “recalls the atmosphere of a dark, smoky blues haunt. An extended clarinet solo, played in the concert by principal clarinet David Purinton, played near the end recalls Benny Goodman’s hot playing style, and ushers in a series of ‘wailing’ brass chords recalling the train whistle effects commonly used during that era.”
The music of Duke Ellington and 43-year old composer John Mackey round out the Concord Band’s Winter Concert program. An Ellington Portrait was arranged by Floyd Werle, who was the U.S. Air Force Band’s chief musical arranger for more than 30 years. Mackey’s Hymn to a Blue Hour evokes the magical and mystical time of day between twilight and darkness.