Saturday, November 1, 2008

James O'Dell to be New Music Director

Music Director James O'Dell

The Concord Band has selected James O'Dell to be the Band's new Music Director. Mr O'Dell will become the third Music Director of the Concord Band after the Band’s 50th Anniversary concert in March 2009. He has been professionally active in instrumental music and music education since 1980. Mr. O’Dell holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Southern Oregon University and a Master of Music in Tuba, Euphonium, and Bass Trombone Performance from the University of Oregon. His graduate work also included residency at Arizona State University in the DMA program.

Mr. O’Dell is currently the Associate Dean of the Boston Conservatory, a post he assumed after serving as Director of the Conservatory’s Music Division and most recently Dean ad interim. He is Associate and Principal Guest Conductor of the Metropolitan Wind Symphony and past Music Director of the Middlesex Concert Band and the Southeastern MA Community Concert Band. Mr. O’Dell has served as Director of Bands at Boston University and Mansfield University (PA). He is founder of the New England Collegiate Jazz Festival, Boston Tuba Christmas, and cofounder of the Boston Tuba Quartet and The Brass Consortium.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

2008 Fall Concert

50th Anniversary Season

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Concord Band

Dr. William G. McManus, Music Director
Dr. Steven Grimo, Guest Conductor


Dr. William G. McManus conducting
Parade of the Tall ShipsJay A. Chattaway
Four Songs Without Words on Poems of KleistMichael H. Weinstein
  1. Gluck Auf!
  2. Hymn An Die Sonne
  3. Ich will hinein
  4. Du bist mir die Kamille
Ye Banks and Braes O' Bonnie DoonPercy Grainger
Boston LibertiesJulie Giroux
  1. Boston Harbor
  2. Facts are Stubborn Things
  3. Granary Grounds
  4. A Penny a Ton
An Ellington Portraitarr. Floyd E. Werle


Dr. Steven Grimo, conducting
La Mezquita de CórdobaJulie Giroux
Dr. William G. McManus conducting
Porgy and Bess SelectionGeorge Gershwin; arr. Robert Russell Bennett
Dr. Steven Grimo, conducting
March Madnessarr. TSgt. John Bliss

Read all notes for this program...

Parade of the Tall Ships

Parade of the Tall Ships is an exciting concert march composed by Jay Chattaway in commemoration of the 1976 Operation Sail, which was the largest gathering of tall sailing ships from all over the world. This historic event took place in New York Harbor on July 4, 1976, as part of America’s Bicentennial celebration. (WGM)

Four Songs Without Words on Poems of Kleist

The Concord Band is honored to present the world premiere of Four Songs Without Words on Poems of Kleist for Concert Band, an original work for concert band by Concord resident Michael Weinstein, who teaches composition at the New England Conservatory and Berklee College of Music. This work was inspired by four poems of German writer Heinrich Kleist. Discussing poety and musical composition, Weinstein writes, “I love poetry and am delighted at finding a good verse or two for a song setting—once I find something I like, it makes the composing easier for me (not as abstract an exercise as writing, say, a sonata or a symphony or concerto). A good poem suggests an immediate form and gives the mood of a composition.” (WGM)

Ye Banks and Braes O’ Bonnie Doon

Ye Banks and Braes O’ Bonnie Doon is a slow, sustained Scottish folk song. This setting by composer Percy Grainger is one of his most memorable folk song settings, and is now considered one of the cornerstones of band repertoire. Grainger’s original setting of this was done in 1901 for “men’s chorus and whistlers.” (Source: Band Music Notes)

An Ellington Portrait

Duke Ellington was one of the few jazz artists whose style never seemed to become dated. He was always able to blend his own art with new influences and trends. Songs he wrote as long as seventy years ago still sound fresh and many of the most up-to-date jazz musicians still play them. Floyd Werle’s setting of An Ellington Portrait includes eight – but by no means all – of his best ones: “It Don’t Mean a Thing ,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “Mood Indigo,” (his first “hit”), “Azure,” “I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart,” “Solitude,” “Caravan” and “In A Sentimental Mood.” (Source: Band Music Notes)

La Mezquita de Córdoba

In 169 B. C. the Romans founded Córdoba, Spain. After the fall of Rome, it existed under the rule of the Visigoths and became the capital of Al Andalus, Muslim Spain, in 716. When the Moors conquered Córdoba, they found a Visigoth cathedral, promptly pulled it down and built a mosque complex, the wall of which enclosed about four acres. Over the centuries, the Moors roofed over and developed more and more within this complex. Muslim, Christian, and Jewish faiths alike were practiced within its walls, an unprecedented feat that would be unheard of today. When the Christians reconquered Córdoba in 1236, the new rulers were so awed by its beauty that they left it standing, building their cathedral in the midst of its rows of arches and columns. Thus it is preserved today, fondly referred to in Spain as “La Grand Mezquita.” Julie Giroux’s La Mezquita de Córdoba opens with the destruction of the original Christian church in 716 A.D. and proceeds as a musical celebration of its multi-cultural, religious and artistic accomplishments. (Source: published score)

Porgy and Bess Selection

Porgy and Bess Selection contains seven songs from George Gershwin’s folk opera, Porgy and Bess, which climaxed Gershwin’s spectacular career. Porgy and Bess has been criticized as being between serious opera and musical comedy, but the beauty of the music and the expressive content which is so right for the occasion, has an immediate and complete appeal. This arrangement by Robert Russell Bennett includes: “Summertime,” “A Woman Is a Sometime Thing,” “I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin,” “Bess, You Is My Woman Now,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “Picnic Parade,” and “Oh Lawd, I’m on My Way.” (Source: Band Music Notes)

March Madness

March Madness was arranged for the United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C., by TSgt. John Bliss. This delightful and very unusual march arrangement is composed of sections, themes, and quotes from numerous wellknown marches including symphonic marches, circus marches, marches from television shows, movies and Broadway, and, of course, Sousa marches. Tonight’s audience will be challenged to see how many of these marches they can identify. (WGM)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lifetime Service Award to Retiring Music Director Dr. William G. McManus

Music Director Emeritus Dr Bill McManus
In 2002, the Concord Band Board of Trustees introduced the Lifetime Service Award to honor individuals whose participation, over a significant span of time, has made a fundamental difference to the Concord Band. On October 25, 2008, the Lifetime Service Award will be given to Dr. William G. McManus, who retires at Music Director of the Concord Band after the 50th Anniversary concert in March.

His Award plaque will read as follows:
As Music Director of the Concord Band for the last 14 of its first 50 years, Dr. William G. McManus added substantially to the solid foundataion established by his legendary predecessor. He helped the Band achieve more than its members had realized was possible. He introduced world-class soloists and guest conductors. The commissions undertaken during his tenure were truly remarkable. In continuing to present to the community the best that the symphonic wind ensemble has to offer, Bill McManus's accomplishments were perhaps best summarized in a recent concert review: "He has honed a very good band into a super one.
An Honor Roll is displayed prominently in the 51 Walden lobby listing all those who have received this very special award.

Past Award recipients have been Bill Burdine and William Toland (2002), CarlGetz and Robert Turkington (2003), GeneParish and William R. Phelan (2004), EdRichter and Bill Siebert (2005), Jerry Welts (2006), and Barbara Cataldo (2007).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Guest Conductor Spotlight: Dr Steven Grimo

Dr Steven Grimo, Lt Col USAF (retired)
Guest Conductor
Dr. Steven Grimo is a native of Bristol, Rhode Island. Presently, he is serving as the Chairman of the Music Department at the Nazarene Bible College in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He attended the New England Conservatory of Music, where he earned a BME in Music Education and a BA in Percussion Performance. Upon graduation, Dr. Grimo began his teaching career in the Newton, Mass. public schools and the Auburn, Mass. public schools (1978-1980). He later became Director of Instrumental Music at Wachusett Regional High School in Holden, Massachusetts (1980-1985). During his teaching tenure in Massachusetts, he received his Masters of Music degree in Wind Ensemble Conducting from the New England Conservatory.

From 1986 to 2007, Dr. Grimo served in the United States Air Force. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, serving with the USAF Bands and Music Branch as a Commander and Music Director for the US Air Force Academy Band in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He had previously served as Commander and Music Director of the USAF Bands of the West, the Pacific and Mid America. As a music director, conductor and producer, he has lectured and conducted professional and collegiate organizations throughout the world. In 2006, he was inducted into the prestigious American Bandmasters Association.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fall Concert Begins 50th Anniversary Season

The Concord Band will open its 50th Anniversary season with its annual Fall Concert to be presented at The Performing Arts Center at 51 Walden Street in Concord on Saturday, October 25, 2008, at 8:00 p.m. Last year, the Band began a two-year celebration of its 50th anniversary by featuring performances of its favorite commissioned works in concerts throughout the year. 

Julie Grioux
This concert will feature a performance of Julie Giroux's Boston Liberties, which the Concord Band commissioned in 2002, as well as the world premiere performance of a new composition for band by Concord composer Michael Weinstein. The Band is also thrilled to welcome back guest conductor Dr. Steven Grimo, who last appeared as guest conductor with the Band in March 1997.
Dr Steven Grimo
Lt Col USAF (retired)
Guest Conductor

Now in his final season as Music Director of the Concord Band, Dr. William G. McManus will open the concert with March of the Tall Ships, an exciting concert march composed by Jay Chattaway in commemoration of the 1976 Operation Sail, which was the largest gathering ever of tall sailing ships from all over the world. This historic event took place in New York harbor on July 4, 1976, as part of America's bicentennial celebration.

Composer Michael Weinstein, a resident of Concord, is a prolific writer with more than fifty works in the concert music field to his credit. His compositions include pieces for symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, chamber works, and solo instrumental pieces. The Concord Band is honored to present the world premiere of his composition Four Songs Without Words on Poems of Kliest for Concert Band.

The concert will continue with a performance of the beautiful Percy Grainger setting of the Scottish folk song, Ye Banks and Braes O' Bonnie Doon, followed by Julie Giroux's Boston Liberties, a four-movement work reflecting the seafaring life of Boston of the late 1800s. The Concord Band presented the world premiere of this work in March 2003. The first half of the concert will close with An Ellington Portrait, a setting of eight of Duke Ellington's greatest songs.

To open the second half of the concert, guest conductor Steven Grimo will take the podium for a performance of Julie Giroux's exciting La Mezquita de Cordoba, a musical celebration of the multicultural, religious, and artistic accomplishments that took place in the magnificent La Mezquita Cathedral in Cordoba, Spain. Dr. William McManus will return to the podium for a performance of Robert Russell Bennett's wonderful arrangement of music from George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess.

Dr. Grimo will close the concert with March Madness, an exciting march composed of bits and pieces of numerous well-known marches. This concert promises to be an exciting start to the Concord Band's 50th Anniversary season.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Visionary Leadership: Dr William McManus

Music Director Dr William G. McManus
By Laura Finkelstein
Assistant Publicist, The Concord Band

Concord,MA, June 12, 2008 — The words say it all: Concord Band Music Director Dr. William G. McManus was honored in March with the presentation of one of the most distinguished awards given to music educators, the Visionary Leadership Award. This award speaks to his long and admirable career as a music teacher and advocate for music education in the public schools. The award was bestowed by the Administrators in Music Education, a subset of the MMEA (Massachusetts Music Educators' Association).

As Steve Damon wrote in the MMEA Newsletter, "Viewpoint" in a 2004 article entitled "Raising Our Standard": "Here in Massachusetts, when we speak of music education legends, we need only two words: Bill McManus!"

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Review: Band's sounds of the season

By Pamela J. Marshall
Submitted to the Concord Journal

The highlight of the Concord Band's Winter concert was Colours by Roger Cichy, written in 1997. The band has commissioned Cichy for its 50th anniversary concert in March 2009, and throughout this season, Music Director William McManus has been introducing this composer to band members and audiences by programming some of his other music. Colours is a challenging, complex work with flavors of a big-band jazz sound.

The piece has six short movements, each named after a color with a suggestive mood, such as mauve, dark ivy, amber. At the opening, a fast fanfare motive was passed among the sections — trumpets, horns, woodwinds — and everyone executed these technical passages with panache. The second movement included a bluesy introduction of parallel chords and a modal melody with lovely ornaments, played with expression by the piccolo and saxophone. The third movement was strongly reminiscent of Bernstein's West Side Story and there was crisp playing from the percussion section. The big band feeling got stronger in the fifth movement with a sax solo that could have been in a James Bond movie; the performer appropriately over-dramatized it with lots of vibrato, making me smile. The last movement was up-tempo, full of irregular rhythms and rich, dark harmonies and the brass really wailed at the climax.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Guest Artist Spotlight: Ethan Sloane

Guest Artist Ethan Sloane
Clarinetist Ethan Sloane, Professor of Music at Boston University, earned his Bachelor of Music degree at New England Conservatory, and Masters and Doctorate degrees at Yale University. He has taught at Mannes College of Music (New York), University of Northern Iowa, University of Victoria, and West Virginia University, as well as Boston University. Among his many awards and honors, he has served as Executive Assistant to the Director of the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University and was a member of the artistfaculty of the California Music Center. In 1976, he won First Prize at the Ars Vivus Chamber Music Competition. In 1980, Professor Sloane was the regional chair of the International Clarinet Society. Professor Sloane has been an artist-clinician for the G. Leblanc Corporation, and in 1981 he was awarded a Martha Baird Rockefeller Grant. He has presented numerous recitals, including performances at Merkin Hall (New York City), the National Gallery of Art, the California Music Center, Kenyon College, Washington Jefferson College, and Queen Elizabeth Playhouse (Vancouver, BC).

Professor Sloane has played concerts with the Pacific Wind Quintet and has performed at the Marlboro Music Festival. He is a former principal clarinetist of the Symphony of the United Nations, the Festival Orchestra of New York, and the New Haven Symphony. He has been a member of the Empire Trio of New York since 1973. He founded the Hampden-Sydney Music Festival (Virginia ) in 1980 and still serves as the Artistic Director of this prestigious chamber music festival. He was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters by Hampden-Sydney College in 1991. Professor Sloane has been in his present position at Boston University since 1984.

Ethan Sloane has enjoyed a long and prominent career as performer, recording artist, teacher, and arts administrator. As soloist and recitalist he has appeared extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Much in demand as a chamber musician, Dr. Sloane has produced recordings both on CD and for National Public Radio. His devotion to the extensive solo and chamber music literature for clarinet has earned critical acclaim, and his editions of masterworks by Brahms and Mozart have received wide acceptance.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Winter Concert Continues 50th Anniversary Celebration

The Concord Band will present its annual Winter Concert at 51 Walden Street in Concord on Saturday, March 1, 2008, beginning at 8:00 pm. As part of a two year celebration of its 50th Anniversary, the Concord Band is featuring performances of its favorite commissioned works at each major concert. The celebration will climax with the band’s 50th Anniversary Concert in March, 2009. Last fall, the Band began this two-year celebration with performances of two of its commissions—Satiric Dances by Norman Dello Joio and Dichotomy– Impressions of Kerouac by Dan Lutz. The Winter concert will feature compositions the Concord Band commissioned by composers Warren Barker and James Curnow. The concert will also feature guest soloist Ethan Sloane, Professor of Clarinet at Boston University.

The concert will open under the baton of Music Director Dr. William G. McManus with a performance of Triumphant Entrance, composed for the Concord Band by Warren Barker in 1991, and an appropriate selection among the numerous works the Concord Band has performed by this outstanding composer/arranger over the years. The Concord Band’s Assistant Conductor, Paul Berler will take the podium to lead the Band in a performance of Gustav Holst’s First Suite in Eb. This masterwork for band, one of the most popular works in the entire concert band repertoire, is generally regarded as a cornerstone of the great works for band by British composers.

Music Director McManus will return to the stage with clarinetist Ethan Sloane for a performance of Carl Maria von Weber’s Concertino, Op. 26 for clarinet. This concerto is one of the great treasures of the clarinetist’s repertoire and was one of the works that established the clarinet as a leading instrument for the expression of Romantic music. The von Weber Concertino remains today as among the most popular solo pieces for the clarinet.

The first half of the concert will conclude with a performance of From Every Horizon, a tone poem for band by Norman Dello Joio, who composed the very first Concord Band commission, Satiric Dances, in 1975. From Every Horizon is a version of a score done for a film of the same title that was shown at the New York World’s Fair in 1964-65. Dello Joio arranged this exciting work into three short movements which musically portray scenes in New York City.

Assistant Conductor Paul Berler will open the second half of the concert with William Walton’s great concert march, Crown Imperial. This march, typically English in its majestic sonority and stately elegance, was first performed at the coronation ceremony for King George VI, in 1937.

Music Director William McManus will return to the podium with Colours, a six-movement suite for band by Roger Cichy. This is an impressionistic work with each of its six movements representing a particular color. The Concord Band has commissioned Roger Cichy to compose a new work in honor of the Band’s 50th Anniversary. The concert will close with a performance of James Curnow’s Welsh Variants, which was commissioned by the Concord Band and premiered on October 22, 1988, in Sentry Center Auditorium in Concord with the composer conducting.