Saturday, September 28, 2019

61st Season Begins with "Carnival of the Animals"

Fall 2019 Concert Poster
It feels like only yesterday that we celebrated our 60th anniversary year with great success-two commissions and world premieres, past commissions by Warren Barker, Stephen Bulla, and James Curnow, five guest artists, a new "Cabaret'' ambiance and mood lighting for Spring Pops at 51 Walden, a special "Patriots' Day" concert at 51 Walden, and my 10th anniversary as Music Director and Conductor. This past year has been a wonderful tribute to the Concord Band and its distinguished and rich history.

The Fall Concert of our 61st season will be held at 8 PM on Saturday, October 26, at 51 Walden, and will feature symphonic band masterpieces, beloved orchestral transcriptions, and short and quirky marches and march-like gems. The theme "Carnival of the Animals" will salute music that features the animal kingdom in all of its splendor, beauty, power, and might.

Manatee Lyric Overture by Robert Sheldon is a robust, spirited and sonorous overture that uses the opening measures as the thematic material throughout the entire composition.

The traditional upbeat and lively Italian folk dance Tarantella, masterfully arranged by Alfred Reed, authentically captures the spirit and flavor of the familiar and beloved 14th century dance.

W. Francis McBeth penned the band masterwork Of Sailors and Whales, drawing inspiration for its five scenes from Herman Melville's Moby Dick. The five movements are entitled "Ishmael," "Queequeg," "Father Mapple," "Ahab," and "The White Whale." The narration that precedes each movement was devised by Lewis J. Buckley, Conductor Laureate of the US Coast Guard Band and MetWinds.

Aaron Copland extracted a mini-suite from his ballet score Rodeo to be used specifically for concert performance and titled it Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo. The fourth episode, "Hoe Down," has been superbly transcribed for band by Mark Rogers, Director of Publications for Southern Music Company.

Famous circus bandmaster Karl L. King wrote The Walking Frog at a time when numerous musical styles were prevalent, including marches, two steps, and ragtime. The Walking Frog is a two-step and a favorite musical addition to "back in the day" circus bands.

The Carnival of the Animals by French composer Camille Saint-Saƫns is a musical suite full of humor and pure fun. Arranged for band as a concert suite by British composer and arranger Geoffrey Brand, the movements included are "Introduction and Royal March of the Lions," "The Elephant," "The Cuckooo Far Off in the Wood," "Fossils," "The Swan," and "Finale." Accompanying each movement are humorous verses written by Ogden Nash in 1949, to be read by Concord Band principle bassoonist and announcer Nat Hefferman.

John Williams is one of the most prominent and recognizable composer of music for film and concert stage, and his score for the movie Jurassic Park is truly iconic. Jurassic Park Soundtrack Highlights masterfully arranged by Paul Lavender includes two most prominent themes, "Journey to Island" featuring a noble trumpet fanfare, and the reflective "Theme from Jurassic Park."

Mother Goose March by J. P. Sousa was one of his seldom performed marches and contains a number of nursery songs including "Down in the Meadow," "There Is a Man in Our Town," "Come All Ye Young Maids," ''I'se Come to See Miss Jennie Jones," "Little Jack Homer," and "Our Dear Doctor."

James O'Dell is Music Director of the Concord Band, and Associate Dean of  Academic Operations at the Boston Conservatory.

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