Friday, October 5, 2018

Celebrating Our Heritage

James O'Dell
Music Director
By James O’Dell, Music Director

Saturday, October 20 at 8 PM
51 Walden, Concord MA

Ten years ago when I became aware that the Concord Band was searching for a new Music Director and Conductor, I eagerly prepared my letter of interest and professional materials for the application. After successfully advancing to the “short list” of four candidates I was invited to conduct a rehearsal.  I was honored to be offered the position, and began preparing the Concord Band for its 50th Anniversary concert in March, 2009—at which time I would succeed Dr. William McManus and his 14-year tenure as Music Director. During the interview process and rehearsal, I was struck by the commitment of the members to the Band and their love of lifelong music making. And I was just as impressed with the historically strong organization of the Concord Band Association Board and its substantial and ongoing support of this gem of a community ensemble.

Now, nine years since assuming the podium, we embark on a year-long season celebrating the 60th Anniversary milestone of the Concord Band and its distinguished and rich history.  Over the past nine years we have performed more than 126 concerts that presented 684 pieces of music and featured a variety of soloists from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, professional jazz musicians, the Concord Players, and our own Concord Band members.  One of the highlights of the past decade was our becoming the first community band in New England to receive the prestigious Sudler Silver Scroll Award.

Our 60th Anniversary Season begins with a bang on October 20th, featuring works commissioned by the Concord Band, concert band masterpieces, chosen gems, new works and beloved transcriptions. Triumphant Entrance by composer Warren Barker, commissioned by the Band in 1991, is a symphonic march in the style of a fanfare/processional which bookend a lush and beautiful interlude. Concord by Clare Grundman was commissioned by “The President’s Own” Marine Band in 1987, and presents material from three folk tunes attributed to the American War of Independence—“The White Cockade,” “America,” and “Yankee Doodle.”  On A Hymnsong of Philip Bliss is based on a moving and solemn 1867 work by hymn writer Philip Paul Bliss, arranged by David R. Holsinger.  La Forza del Destino (The Force of Destiny) Overture by Giuseppe Verdi was first performed by the Concord Band at the 25th Anniversary concert in 1984. The fall concert will feature a new transcription by R. Mark Rogers that more authentically captures this magnificent opera overture.

Contemporary composer Samuel Hazo’s new work Diamond Fanfare brings all symphonic forces to bear in this uniquely formatted and blossoming fanfare. Folk Dances by Dimitri Shostakovich ,superbly transcribed by H. Robert Reynolds, draws source material from the “Dance of Youth,” and includes several Russian folk melodies strung together one after the other as it accelerates to a big finish. It was first performed by the Song and Dance Ensemble of the NKVD, the Soviet Union’s feared secret police that became the KGB. [Source: Conductor and Music Educator Andy Pease]

North Bridge Portrait was commissioned by the Concord Band in 1999 and was described by composer Stephen Bulla as “a descriptive fantasia for band that seeks to portray an historical picture through music of this important locale, where the first shot of the American Revolution rang out in 1775”. First Suite in E-flat by English composer Gustav Holst is considered to be among the very first cornerstone masterworks for band, setting the stage for countless original compositions for concert band to this day. Proud Heritage by American William Latham is listed as one of the 100 most popular mid-20th century marches.

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