Sunday, November 1, 2009

Meet the Concord Band Percussion Section

138 Years of Combined Service...and Counting

The Concord Band percussion section— and the percussion sections of large instrumental ensembles of all kinds—may be described in terms of extremes. At one time or another, percussionists are responsible for gathering hundreds of different combinations of pitched and unpitched instruments and beaters. As most drummers will tell you, the most difficult problem they usually face is not in playing their parts, but in setting up and moving between their instruments as quickly as necessary when the section has a limited number of players.
(l to r): Dan Diamond (snare drum), Ken Troup (mallets),
Neil Tischler (drum set, tympani), Buck Grace (bass drum, cymbals),
Steve Polit (tympani, mallets).

The Concord Band’s five percussionists, with tenures of 39, 38, 37, 14 and 10 years, rank 3rd, 4th and 5th longest among all active Band members. They are very well educated—with two doctorates and a handful of other advanced degrees among them. Though they may wish it were otherwise, they are also probably the oldest section of the Band.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

2009 Fall Concert

Music from Across the Pond

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Concord Band

James O’Dell, Music Director
Chuck Holleman, Reciter


Hands Across the SeaJohn Philip Sousa; ed. Fennell
English Folk Song SuiteRalph Vaughan Williams
  1. March “Seventeen Come Sunday”
  2. Intermezzo “My Bonny Boy”
  3. March “Folk Songs fom Slirset”
Three Songs from FaçadeWilliam Walton; arr. O’Brien
Chuck Holleman, Reciter
  1. Popular Song
  2. Jodelling Song
  3. Polka
To a New DawnPhilip Sparke


Mannin Veen “Dear Isle of Man,” A Manx Tone PoemHaydn Wood
Irish SuiteLeroy Anderson
  1. The Irish Washerwoman
  2. The Minstrel Boy
  3. The Rakes of Mallow
“The Earle of Oxford’s Marche” from William Byrd SuiteGordon Jacob
Selections from “Cats”Andrew Lloyd Webber; arr. Edmondson
Brighton BeachWilliam P. Latham

Read all notes from this program...

Hands Across the Sea

Hands Across the Sea was written in 1899 and received its premiere later that year on April 21, at the Philadelphia Academy of Music. The title of this wonderful march is believed to refer to the collective ability of the March King and his musicians to affect people in many lands, as a symbol to countrymen and America’s friends overseas. John Philip Sousa and his band made many European tours beginning in 1900 that included concerts in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Hands Across the Sea was the last march that Sousa conducted with the U. S. Marine Band Orchestra before his death in 1932. (JRO)

English Folk Song Suite

English Folk Song Suite is considered a cornerstone composition for band, and remains one of the most frequently performed band works by the composer. Ralph Vaughan Williams devoted his life to folk song research and publication, and was considered England’s leading composer after the death of Sir Edward Elgar in 1934. This suite was written in 1924 for “military band” (a full complement of winds, brass and percussion, as opposed to a brass band), and features the composer’s distinctive style employing modal harmonies and rhythms derived from elements found in traditional folk songs of Norfolk and Somerset. The suite was originally written for band and later transcribed for orchestra, a welcome change from the common practice of writing for orchestra first. (JRO)

Three Songs from Façade

Façade is referred to by composer William Walton as an “entertainment,” with text by Dame Edith Sitwell. David Ewen notes that the music is filled with “parody, burlesque, mock seriousness, tongue-in-cheek sentimentality, and calculated clichés.” This melodrama, originally written for seven instruments and reciting voice, consists of 21 movements, of which five have been arranged for band by Robert O’Brien. Walton’s unique style is grounded in Romantic passion with clear classical structure, dissonant yet tonal harmonies, and a touch of jazz rhythms. Façade was first performed at the Sitwell home in Chelsea, England, in January 1922, with Dame Edith Sitwell reciting. (JRO)

To a New Dawn

To a New Dawn was commissioned from Philip Sparke in 2000 by the United States Continental Army Band to celebrate the 3rd Millennium. The work looks forward to the challenges of the new century and reflects on the last. It begins with a bright introduction featuring the trumpets with a perky theme which passes quickly through several keys, reappearing in the woodwinds. A solo trumpet takes up a new theme over bubbling eighth notes and leads to rhythmic figures starting in the low clarinets. A brass interlude follows with the oboe taking up a legato tune. The following Andante section features horn and trumpet solos and florid woodwind cadenzas, leading to a passionate climax. After a full recapitulation the work closes with a lively coda. (Source: published score)

Mannin Veen

Mannin Veen is Gaelic for “Dear Isle of Man” and was originally written for orchestra in 1933. The work embodies Hayden Wood’s unique ability to meld folksong material into a cohesive, single-movement work. This tone poem (a compositional form that is programmatic and founded on a non-musical thing or idea), is based on four Manx folk songs that include a lively traditional air, a Scottish or Gaelic reel much like our American hoedown, a summoning song set as a ballad, and an old hymn sung by fishermen after their safe return from the sea. This collection beautifully represents the picturesque Isle of Man, located in the Irish sea between England and Ireland, where Wood lived as a youth. (JRO)

Irish Suite

Leroy Anderson’s Irish Suite salutes an American composer with deep Boston roots. He was associated with Arthur Fiedler and well known as one of the leading arrangers for the Boston Pops Orchestra and also frequently served as the orchestra’s guest conductor. In 1947 he was commissioned by the Erin Society of Boston to write an Irish Suite for its annual night at the Pops. The work consisted of six beloved Irish airs, three of which have been arranged for band and are featured this evening. (Source: Band Music Notes, Norman Smith and Albert Stoutamire)

The Earle of Oxford’s Marche

The Earle of Oxford’s Marche is a stately march scored for band from the keyboard music of William Byrd from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. Byrd was a student of Thomas Tallis and recognized as one of the founding members of the English Madrigal School. This march beautifully captures the pomp and circumstance with true “British” flair, and is the first of six movements from the William Byrd Suite written in 1922. The works of Gordon Jacob, who was educated at the Royal College of Music, are considered masterful contributions to the band literature. (JRO)

Selections from Cats

Selections from Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber, features memorable selections from this beloved musical based on poems in Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S Eliot. Webber notes that “very luckily Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats contains verses that are extraordinarily musical; they have rhythms that are very much their own.” Featured songs from the musical include Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat, The Old Gumbie Cat, Macavity: The Mystery Cat, and Memory. (JRO)

Brighton Beach March

Brighton Beach March, composed in 1954, was William Latham’s first published work for band. It was an immediate success and was listed among the 100 most popular marches by The Instrumentalist four times between 1960 and 1976. The title (chosen by the publisher) refers to a famous resort on the southern coast of England. This march has numerous dynamic contrasts, as well as unusual scoring of the woodwind parts. (Source: March Music Notes and Band Music Notes, Norman Smith and Albert Stoutamire)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

2009 Winter Concert

50th Anniversary Concert

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Concord Band

William M. Toland, Music Director Laureate
Dr. William G. McManus, Music Director Emeritus
James R. O'Dell, Music Director
Roger Cichy, Guest Conductor


William M. Toland conducting
His HonorHenry Fillmore; ed. Foster
Satiric Dances for a Comedy by AristophanesNorman Dello Joio
  1. Allegro pesante
  2. Adagio mesto
  3. Allegro spumante
Dr. William G. McManus conducting
Armenian Dances, Part IAlfred Reed
MaybeBevan Manson/Words by Amanda Carr; arr. McManus
Amanda Carr, vocalist
Cheek to CheekIrving Berlin; arr. Seeco
Amanda Carr, vocalist
Dixieland Live!arr. Lewis J. Buckley
Lewis Buckley, trumpet


James O'Dell conducting
Four Scottish DancesMalcolm Arnold; arr. Paynter
  1. Pesante
  2. Vivace
  3. Allegretto
  4. Con Brio
Allegro from Concerto in B-flat MajorW. A. Mozart; trans. Yeago
Nathaniel Hefferman, bassoon
The Phantom of the OperaAndrew Lloyd Webber; arr. Barker
Roger Cichy conducting
Flowing Pens from ConcordRoger Cichy
  1. Mosses from an Old Manse
  2. Little Women
  3. Walden
  4. Nature
World Premiere Performance

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His Honor

One of the most colorful bandsmen of the twentieth century, Henry Fillmore, probably wrote, arranged, and edited more band music over his 50-year career than any other composer/bandmaster in history. The march His Honor was dedicated to Mayor Russell Wilson of Cincinnati. (Source: William M. Toland)

Satiric Dances

Satiric Dances, the Concord Band’s first major commission, was written to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the events in Concord of 1775. The financing for the commission came from private donations and the Eastern National Park and Monument Association in cooperation with the National Park Service. Norman Dello Joio agreed to do the commission but stipulated it would be a piece he had used as background music for a comedy by Aristophanes. Dello Joio took a special interest in the commission and came to Band rehearsals to offer suggestions on the performance. After the scheduled first performance was rained out, Satiric Dances was premiered on July 17, 1975 at Minuteman National Park with Norman Dello Joio and his family in attendance. Satiric Dances was published shortly after that, and it has become one of the best selling and most performed pieces of the concert band repertoire. (Source: William M. Toland)

Armenian Dances

Armenian Dances, Parts 1 and II, constitute a four-movement work for concert band by Alfred Reed based on the authentic Armenian folk songs from the collected works of Gomidas Vartabed (1869-1935), the founder of Armenian classical music. Armenian Dances, Part I, containing the first movement of the suite, is an extended symphonic rhapsody built upon five different songs, freely treated and developed in terms of the modern integrated concert band. The music will be found to remain true in spirit to the work of this brilliant composer-musicologist, who almost single-handedly preserved and gave the world a treasure trove of beautiful folk music. (Source: published score)

Maybe, Cheek to Cheek

Jazz vocalist Amanda Carr has appeared frequently with the Concord Band over the past several years and she has become a favorite with Concord Band audiences. Maybe, an original bossa nova composed by Amanda and pianist Bevan Manson, appeared on Amanda’s CD “Carr Toons.” This beautiful bossa nova has been especially arranged for Amanda and the Concord Band by retiring Music Director, Bill McManus. Amanda will also perform the great Irving Berlin song Cheek to Cheek, arranged for the Concord Band by Milford jazz artist Jerry Seeco. (WGM)

Dixieland Live!

Dixieland Live! is a medley of four great Dixieland tunes arranged for the Concord Band by Lewis Buckley. Concord Band percussionist Neil Tischler commissioned this work in 2001 in celebration of his 29 years with the Concord Band. The tunes included in the arrangement are “At the Jazz Band Ball,” “The Beale Street Blues,” “The Saint James Infirmary,” and “Tiger Rag.” Composer Lewis Buckley joined the Concord Band playing trumpet in the Dixieland ensemble on the occasion of the Band 50th anniversary concert. (WGM)

Four Scottish Dances

The dances of Four Scottish Dances were composed by Malcolm Arnold early in 1957, and are dedicated to the BBC Light Music Festival. All are based on original melodies except one, the melody of which was composed by Robert Burns.
  • The first dance is in the style of a slow strathsprey—a slow Scottish dance in 4/4 meter—with many dotted notes, frequently in the inverted (reversed) arrangement of the “Scottish Snap.” The name was derived from the Strath valley of Sprey.
  • The second, a lively reel, begins in the key of E-flat and rises a semitone (half step) each time it is played until the bassoon plays it, at a greatly reduced speed, in the key of G. The final statement of the dance is at the original speed in the home key of E-flat.
  • The third dance is in the style of a Hebridean song, and attempts to give the impression of the sea and mountain scenery on a calm summer’s day in the Hebrides.
  • The last dance is a lively fling, originally scored to make a great deal of use of the open-string pitches of the violin. 

(Source: Band Music Notes third edition, Norman Smith and Albert Stoutamire)

Concerto in B-flat Major

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart scored the Concerto in B-flat Major for bassoon solo, two oboes, two horns, and strings. It is the earliest surviving concerto for a wind instrument by Mozart (dated 1774), and is likely one work of a small series commissioned by Munich amateur Baron Thaddeus von Dürnitz. Mozart exploits the unique and distinctive qualities of the bassoon: contrasting registers, rapid note repetition and passages, staccato articulation punctuation, and beautiful instrumental color. In developing this arrangement for band, Charles Yeago distributes the string parts among the woodwinds and keeps the transparency of the piece intact, including all embellishments of the period. (JRO)

Phantom of the Opera

Now celebrating its twentieth anniversary, Phantom of the Opera is undoubtedly one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most beloved and wellknown musical scores. This arrangement by Warren Barker includes the memorable selections “Think of Me,” “Angel of Music,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “All I Ask of You,” “The Point of No Return,” and “The Music of the Night.” Having debuted on October 9th, 1986 in London’s West End at Her Majesty’s Theatre, the musical first opened on Broadway at the Majestic Theater, January, 1988, and was swiftly the winner of seven Tony awards, and the longest-running musical in Broadway’s history. (JRO)

Flowing Pens from Concord

Composer Roger Cichy was inspired by the writings of four of Concord’s greatest authors to write a four-movement piece for concert band based on his interpretation of his feelings about these writings and the places associated with them. As with so many artists in the past, Cichy felt it necessary to travel to Concord to “come up with ideas” and to “get the feel of the place.” He visited Walden Pond, saw the cabin where Thoreau lived, saw the flute that Thoreau had played at Walden; visited Orchard House where Louisa May Alcott had lived and had written Little Women; saw the desk that her father had built for her; he went to the Old Manse and looked at the surrounding orchards and gardens and river. He wanted to soak up the atmosphere of the places, as well as read the words written by the four authors.

Cichy wanted there to be contrasts between all of the movements, from the more light-hearted attributes of the very young Little Women to the more all-encompassing thoughts about nature. The words he used to describe the entire piece were: “integrated, interconnected, perceiving things as a whole; so that the audience hears an overall integrated blend.” He said the audience members don’t even have to know all the details of either the words of each book or the compositional process, but he hopes they will be moved by the music itself, the variety in the different movements, and the overall integration of the piece.

The Old Manse is an “icon” in Concord, says Cichy, and he wrote a musical description not only of the Manse but also of the surrounding area: the orchards, gardens, willow trees, and river, which he feels are as much a part of the Manse as is the building itself. And he read the words by Hawthorne and thought about the “ghosts of the people who’d been there before,” since people who had inhabited the Manse had left old sermons, letters, and other writings there once they left. So his music speaks to both the iconic building and the writings by Hawthorne, his philosophies about life and nature.

When working on Little Women, Cichy would read a chapter, then compose, then read another chapter or two, then compose some more. In this movement he imagines the Alcott sisters when they were very young, with a lightness about them, before they became mature women. Cichy was amazed to learn that in 19th century Concord, it was not commonplace for women to have desks on which to write; and so Bronson Alcott built a desk for his daughter, Louisa May (Jo in Little Women); Cichy was surprised to see how small a desk it was, and was amazed at how much glorious writing had come from it.

Walden by Thoreau emphasizes how the author tried to simplify his life by living at Walden Pond, which inspired the slow movement of Cichy’s piece. This movement is all about the serenity in Thoreau’s Walden and his attempts to be at peace with the natural world. Cichy said he was also intrigued by the fact that Thoreau brought a flute with him to Walden Pond (which flute is now in The Concord Museum) and, thus, Cichy wrote a lovely flute solo in this movement.

Even though Emerson is perhaps better known for his writings on philosophy, Cichy chose his essay on “Nature” and admitted this was the most challenging movement of Flowing Pens from Concord for him to write. In this movement he used a “freer interpretation of this work,” based on the philosophy of nature, on how one perceives things, how one looks at things as a whole. This idea of integration is most pertinent in this movement, and reflects both the compositional techniques he used and the overall spirit of the music. Cichy said that a concert band, even though it is a large ensemble of 65 members with 34 individual parts written for it in this piece, should be thought of as a single ensemble, and he worked to blend all those 34 parts into one unified whole. Ultimately the audience hears a blended “whole” piece of music and not just a variety of individual parts. For example, Cichy said, the percussion parts are an integral part of the overall rhythmic and musical scheme, not just providing rhythm as background. Their parts are all integrated with the others, interconnected into the overall blend. And this is very much in the spirit of Emerson’s writings on “Nature.”

(Source: Roger Cichy)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lifetime Service Award Given to Percussionist Daniel S. Diamond

Daniel S. Diamond
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. At its 50th Anniversary Concert, it was awarded to Daniel S. Diamond.

His award plaque reads as follows:
Percussionist Dan Diamond joined the Band in 1970 and has served on its Board almost continuously since then. He has worked tirelessly as fundraiser, organizer of mailings, designer and printer of programs, posters and newsletters, mover of percussion equipment, liaison with outside organizations and on many other tasks. Along the way Dan has been responsible for many innovative improvements, such as the Band logo, the fundraising database, the production of concert and commercial CDs and videos, the Band’s mission statement, percussion cabinets, the pops raffle, the newsletter and the Lifetime Service Award program. The Band truly would not be where it is today without Dan’s thoughtful guidance and selfless contributions.
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), Barbara Cataldo (2007) and Dr.William G. McManus (2008).