Thursday, November 1, 2007

Review: Concord Band Impresses Audience Again

The Concord Band played a very exciting concert last Saturday, for a decent crowd of escapees from the third game of the World Series. Music Director Bill McManus has honed a very good band into a super one, over his twelve years on the band's podium. He and his Assistant Conductor, Paul Berler, inspired the band through some very challenging music in this concert.

Wham!! on the bass drum to start Roger Cichy's Fanfare for a Festive Day. That set the mood, didn't it? Fanfares served in the past to announce the beginning of the concert—to quiet the audience down. Now-a-days, fanfares rouse us to the spirit of the concert—as did this one. I especially enjoyed the march, the fugue and the horn section throughout this short burst of sound.

After thanking us for attending, Bill McManus and the band played Daniel Lutz's Dichotomy... Impressions of Kerouac—a Concord Band commission with support of the Lowell Cultural Council. Kerouac was a "beat" French Catholic, and this music echoed that. It mixed together jazz, Frere Jacque and mixed meter of 7/8, 7/4 and 7/2 (the seven sacraments)—all into a challenging composition for the band. Bill had no trouble conducting this tricky mixed meter. And the band had no trouble following Bill—listening, listening, listening to each other. At one point, Kerouac's life floated along a river of bubbles, created when the upper-wind players noodled along, each at their own tempo. I enjoyed the ethereal percussion, flute and oboe, the jazzy brass, and the tympani flourish at the end. One particular highlight: Judy Piermarini wailed on a tenor-sax solo (brava, Judy).