Sunday, December 14, 2014

Building the Concert Band Audience

John Philip Sousa conducted the
Marine Band (1880–1892) and
the Sousa Band (1892–1931).
The Concord Band has multiple objectives, and we continue to make progress on most of them. For example, we continue to be one of the leading forces among community concert bands, world-wide, in the commissioning of new music for this ensemble.

The Concord Band, probably more than ever before, continues to present the very best in concert band music to the public in our area at reasonable cost. Why more than before? We now tackle great pieces of music for symphonic wind ensemble that would have been considered beyond our capability just a few years ago. For example, Aerial Fantasy, by Michael A. Mogensen, presented on our Winter, 2014, Concert program, was commissioned by the Washington, DC-based Air Force Band. Since its members are all professional musicians, they, according to Mogensen, “could play anything” he wrote—and he admits that this is a difficult piece to play.

One significant area where the Concord Band has not achieved its objective is in building our audience. And we are not alone among concert bands in this respect. Probably the best symphonic wind ensemble in New England, now that the Air Force Band of Liberty no longer exists, is the Metropolitan Wind Symphony—like the Concord Band, a community band with no paid members. However, many of its members were either trained as music performers or as music teachers. They are a wonderful group, but they have as much trouble building an audience as does the Concord Band.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Harvard Pro Musica Chamber Singers featured in Holiday Pops Concert

Music Director James O'Dell with a Special Guest
The Concord Band’s 36th annual Holiday Pops concerts will feature 16 voices from Harvard Pro Musica, a Harvard (Massachusetts) based 50-person classical community chorus directed by Andy Icochea Icochea.

The Dec. 12 and 13 Holiday Pops concerts will include the two songs, "Cathedral Bells of England" and "Hymn to America," by Clara Endicott Sears, the founder of Fruitlands Museum, which were premiered this past summer at Fruitlands. Called the HPM Chamber Singers to reflect its being a part of the larger Harvard Pro Musica, the chorus will sing several holiday numbers with the Concord Band, conducted by Music Director James O’Dell, including the Boston Pops arrangement of Sleigh Ride. Other works for band on the program include Alfred Reed’s powerful Russian Christmas Music, conducted by assistant conductor Steve Barbas, and Philip Sparke’s stirring Spirit of the Sequoia.

Tickets at tables for four (and a few for tables of six) are available for $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. Both the Friday and Saturday concerts begin at 8 p.m. and are held at 51 Walden Street in Concord. Tickets can be reserved by emailing the Concord Band at or leaving a message on the Band’s phone line 978-897-9969.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Reserve Your Tickets for Holiday Pops

The Concord Band is eagerly looking forward to its Holiday Pops concerts. Highlights will include Alfred Reed's "Russian Christmas Music"; guest soloists, The Harvard Pro Musica Chamber Singers; and a reprise from last summer's premiere of two songs by Clara Sears, founder of the Band's summer home, Fruitlands, as arranged by Jim Dalton.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Concord Band Delights in Saturday Performance

Music Director James O'Dell
conducting the Concord Band.
By Patricia Lake

Posted on Wicked Local

Concord, October 27, 2014 — The Concord Band performance this past Saturday evening, titled “Monuments,” was a pleasure to attend.

From the opening horn solo in Smith’s Monument, nicely played by Cameron Owen, one knew that The Concord Band was off to a good start. The band produced an effective balance and blend between the winds, brass, and percussion sections. The first flute beautifully repeated the opening horn solo and the flute duet that followed was quite lovely. The final movement, “Pioneer Spirit and Dance” was raucous, great fun, and a wonderful ending to the piece.

The Concord Band clearly excels at playing marches and “Bunker Hill March” by Karl King did not disappoint. The tight rhythmic lines throughout the ensemble made room for intricate solo lines to be heard. The attention to dynamic contrast was spot on and very much appreciated by this brass player.

David Purinton’s touching tribute to his 90 year-old father, a WWII veteran who served on the USS Lamar as a radio ham, preceded Victory at Sea by Richard Rodgers. The senior Mr. Purinton received a standing ovation and stood to acknowledge the audience. It was a pleasant treat to experience this piece as an audience member rather than from within the ensemble. The lament of the first trumpet, Arthur Magazu, clearly portrayed hopeless and total destruction followed by the hopeful and beautiful hymn that was very well played at the conclusion of the piece.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Guest Artist Profile: Amanda Carr

Vocalist Amanda Carr

Hanover's entertainment juggernaut

By Jay Miller 
For The Patriot Ledger

Quincy, September 12, 2014—Amanda Carr is so busy it's a wonder she hasn't passed herself coming and going.

Consider, the Hanover singer is performing at two benefits this Sunday, she just got back a couple weeks ago from a cultural exchange trip to China where she was performing soul music in Shanghai, she's already taped an episode as a judge on Community Auditions, she spent last Tuesday as an election-night reporter for WATD-FM radio, and meanwhile she's forging a separate career as a realtor. She also writes music, and, occasionally, even rests.

This weekend's charity events are two worthy ones, where fans can hear Carr's pop and jazz stylings, and also contribute to good causes. From about 11 a.m. to noon Sunday, she'll be performing at Doggie Pawlooza, the Standish Humane Society's 20th annual fundraiser at Wompatuck State Park in Hingham, where friendly people and canines gather along with food vendors and assorted entertainment.

Read full article posted on Wicked Local

Amanda Carr will perform with The Concord Band for its Spring Pops concerts.


The dictionary defines “monument” as something designed and built as a lasting public tribute to a person, a group of people, or an event, or a site or structure that is preserved because of its historical, cultural, or aesthetic importance. Robert W. Smith composed Monument with these definitions in mind, and adds “inspired by the poem 'Spirit that Form’d this Scene' from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass”. Whitman wrote this beautiful prose as he overlooked the panoramic landscape in Platte Canyon, Colorado. The moving and colorful work contains four distinct sections, which are to be performed attacca (without pause): To Touch the Sky, Cloud Dances, Colorado Dreams, and Pioneer Spirit and Celebration. (Source: published score)

Bunker Hill March

Karl L. King penned more than 300 works, which include 188 famous marches. Known for his love of melodies, King made sure that many of his “best” melodies were written in the low brass section (King was a euphonium player). While Barnum and Bailey’s Favorite (a wildly fast circus march) is his best known composition, Bunker Hill March, written in 1943, consists of two distinct stanzas, a contrasting trio, and closing section. Written in 6/8 meter, the light and short march is harmonically tuneful and thoroughly delightful. (Source: JRO)

Victory at Sea

Victory at Sea by famed Broadway composer Richard Rodgers was written for the NBC television production of the same name, and arranged by fellow collaborator and influential arranger for symphonic band, Robert Russell Bennett. An expansive “Symphonic Scenario for Concert Band”, the piece’s sections include Beneath the Southern Cross, The Guadalcanal March, The Sunny Pacific Islands, The Approaching Enemy, The Attack, Death and Debris, and The Hymn of Victory. The work was described by The New Yorker as “a seemingly endless creation, now martial, now tremendously moving.” (Source: JRO)

Spirit of the Sequoia

Spirit of the Sequoia was commissioned for a Swiss wind ensemble by Dr. Robert Oertli and the Musikgesellschaft Möhlin, Switzerland, first performed by that ensemble in 2003. A single-movement programmatic piece drawing analogy to the magnificent sequoia, Philip Sparke writes “the work is also inspired by man’s ability to overcome personal tragedy. The remarkable life cycle of these amazing trees involves their dropping seeds to the ground which require heat [fire] to open their shells and germinate. … In a similar way the human spirit can actually gain from setbacks: we grow stronger after adversity.” (Source: JRO and published score)

Themes from Grand Canyon Suite

Ferde Grofé’s wide-ranging orchestral composition Grand Canyon Suite is one of his most recognizable and well-known compositions, second only to the magnificent orchestration of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Themes from Grand Canyon Suite, arranged by Douglas E. Wagner, captures the many sonic aspects of the original score, preserving the rich instrumental sonorities and orchestration highlights. Themes include Sunrise, On the Trail, Sunset, and Cloudburst. (Source: JRO and published score)


Threnos (A Song of Lamentation based on the Gettysburg Address) by Daniel Bukvich is a powerful and moving work that contains aleatoric (chance) performance techniques. The work weaves in and out of seemingly foggy and dreamlike sequences contrasted by dissonant harmonic passages of call and response throughout the various wind, brass and percussion instruments. A freely stated declaration by the oboe is accompanied by a steadfast ostinato marching rhythm of snare drum and timpani, supported by wind and brass chordal clusters. In describing the work, Bukvich states “A fascinating recent study examines the rhythm and words that Lincoln used, researching the drama and implications of their rhythmic content. These rhythmic implications are the basis of the effective and dramatic work, beginning, appropriately enough, with Four Score and Seven.” (Source: JRO and published score)

Eiffel Tower Polka

Eiffel Tower Polka comes from the one-act ballet, "The Wedding Party on the Eiffel Tower," with music composed by Francis Poulenc, one of the French composers known as “Les Six”. Arranged for two cornets and concert band by Don Stewart, it is a delightful and light rendering of the traditional polka style delivered in a conversation between the two soloists. (Source: JRO)

K2: The Savage Mountain

The Concord Band commissioned Massachusetts native Julie Giroux to write Boston Liberties, which was premiered in 2002. Her composition K2: The Savage Mountain presents a series of seven motifs (short musical ideas) representing a variety of extremes faced by experienced mountain climbers. These include Wind, Blowing Snow, Urgency and Danger, Low Oxygen, Death, Hammering in Ice Screws, and Boot Crampons Scraping Ice. “K2 is massive, beautiful, and literally, can take your breath away. It calls to mountain climbers around the world with the song of a deadly Siren. Most heed its warning, but a few will not be thwarted. Seventy-three percent WILL make it to the top and will come down changed forever.” (Source: JRO and published score)

2014 Fall Concert


The Concord Band

James O’Dell, Music Director
Steven Barbas, Assistant Conductor


James O’Dell conducting
MonumentRobert W. Smith
Bunker Hill MarchKarl L. King
Victory at SeaRichard Rodgers; trans. R. R. Bennett
Spirit of the SequoiaPhilip Sparke


Themes from Grand Canyon SuiteFerde Grofé; arr. D. Wagner
ThrenosDaniel Bukvich
Eiffel Tower PolkaFrancis Poulenc; trans. D. Stewart
Arthur Magazu and Cindy Blanchard, trumpet
K2: The Savage MountainJulie Giroux

Read all notes for this program...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Press Release: Concord Band to perform ‘Monuments’

Concord's Louanne MacKenzie and
Laura Finkelstein performing with
the Concord Band.
The Sudler Silver Scroll-winning Concord Band celebrates its 56th year, embarking on a season-long exploration of some of the great works for symphonic concert band. The Fall Concert, MONUMENTS, will be presented at 8 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Performing Arts Center at 51 Walden Street in Concord. The concert features music with programmatic undertones penned by American and international composers, and represents a wide variety of musical styles and genres.

Victory at Sea by Richard Rodgers stands as a monumental and much-loved musical score from an equally-monumental television series from the early 1950s. Robert Russell Bennett’s arrangement of the Symphonic Scenario is a powerful medley that captures the emotion of America at war in the Atlantic and Pacific. Two pieces written for band, Monument by Robert W. Smith and Julie Giroux’s K2: The Savage Mountain, depict the natural beauty of mountains and the human joys and hazards associated with them. Smith’s work celebrates Colorado and includes music that represents some of the settlers who chose to live in those mountains. Giroux says that K2, the world’s second highest peak “calls to mountain climbers around the world with the song of a deadly siren.” Her music portrays and honors the danger and exhilaration those climbers face.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


The Concord Band Begins its 56th Season
Saturday, October 25th

K2, earth's second-highest summit, is the inspiration
for Julie Giroux's composition, K2: The Savage Mountain.
Join the Concord Band as we celebrate our 56th year of wonderful music-making, embarking on a season-long exploration of some of the great works for symphonic concert band. Our Fall Concert, MONUMENTS, will be presented at the Performing Arts Center at 51 Walden Street in Concord, on Saturday, October 25, 2014, at 8:00 PM. The concert features music with programmatic undertones penned by American and international composers, and represents a wide variety of musical styles and genres.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Littleton Tercentenary Celebration

The Town of Littleton will be putting on a huge pyrotechnic display at Nashoba Valley Ski Area with a pre-fireworks concert this September 6th after the Town Parade! This event will be held in conjunction with Oktoberfest (a free event for Littleton residents!) running from 11:00am to 10:00pm.

Schedule of Events

Oktoberfest—11:00am to 10:00pm
Bare Hill Band (Sunset Tiki Bar and Grill)—3:15pm to 4:30pm
Loose Connection (Sunset Tiki Bar and Grill)—5:00pm to 6:15pm
The Concord Band* (Main Stage)—6:30pm to 8:00pm
Fireworks—8:15pm to 8:45pm

*In the event of rain, the concert will be held at the Littleton High School Auditorium at 6:30pm.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Summer Retrospective

Fruitland's audience as seen from the Band's perspective.
As we close our program year, we extend our thanks to Fruitlands Museum for hosting our summer season, and we express our gratitude to you, our audience, for supporting our efforts to make our concerts worthwhile and entertaining, all year.

After a short break, we will return in September with announcements of our 2014–15 program!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Picnic in the Park

Picnic In the Park 2014 Poster

Sunday, June 15, 2014

2014 Summer Concert Series

Fruitlands Museum Series

Thursdays June 19 through July 24, 7:15 pm until sunset.

Join us as we provide the soundtrack for your summer. Fruitlands Museum's beautiful natural amphitheater provides a perfect setting for a sunset concert, featuring breathtaking views overlooking the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge. Bring your entire family and a picnic as desired.

Parking $15 per vehicle, $10 for museum members.
June 19
Songs of Summer
June 26
Centennial Celebration
July 3
American Salute
July 10
From Broadway to Hollywood—musicals that became movies
July 17
Flying High—celebrating the anniversary of the moon landing and maiden voyages
July 24
A Summer Retrospective

2014 Picnic in the Park

Friday July 4 , 10:00 am - 4:00 pm at Emerson Field, Concord MA.

Concord Band performs at 3:00 pm. Come early and enjoy all of the family-friendly activities! This event is rain or shine.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Boston Festival of Bands

The Concord Band performs for the annual
Boston Festival of Bands at historic Faneuil Hall.
The Concord Band has been invited to perform at the 26th annual Boston Festival of Bands, to be held Saturday June 14 at Faneuil Hall in Boston (in the Great Hall on the 2nd floor). At this day-long event, seven of the best community concert bands from all around New England play on the hour, from 11 AM to 6 PM. The Festival is the most distinguished community concert band festival in New England. It is free and open to the public. The Concord Band will perform at 4 PM.

The Boston Festival of Bands is hosted by The Metropolitan Wind Symphony, funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and by the National Endowment for the Arts. The Boston Festival of Bands was founded by the Metropolitan Wind Symphony in 1989, and has included bands from all 5 New England states and Canada.

This will be the 18th time in the Festival's 26-year history that The Concord Band—winner of the Sudler Silver Scroll Award for 2013, "North America's most prestigious award for community concert bands"—has performed at the Boston Festival of Bands.


  • Beyond the Horizon by Rossano Galante
  • An Original Suite by Gordon Jacob
  • Dusk by Steven Bryant
  • Symphonic Dance No. 3, "Fiesta" by Clifton Williams
  • Yellow Rose of Texas Variations, by Lou Buckley, cornet solo by the composer
  • Wings Across America by Roger Cichy

Schedule of Performances

Middlesex Concert Band (Wakefield, MA)
New England Brass Band (Franklin, MA)
Metropolitan Wind Symphony (Jamaica Plain, MA)
American Band (Providence, RI)
Casco Bay Concert Band (Portland, ME)
Concord Band (Concord, MA)
Charles River Wind Ensemble (Newton, MA)

Fruitlands Museum Summer Concert Series Video

2014 Fruitlands Summer Concert Series

Thursdays at 7:15 pm
Fruitlands Museum, Harvard MA

Join us as we provide the soundtrack for your summer. Fruitlands Museum's beautiful natural amphitheater provides a perfect setting for a sunset concert, featuring breathtaking views of the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge. Bring your entire family and a picnic as desired.

Parking $15 per vehicle, $10 for museum members.
June 19
Songs of Summer
June 26
Fruitlands Centennial Celebration
July 3
American Salute
July 10
From Broadway to Hollywood—musicals that became movies
July 17
Flying High—celebrating the anniversary of the moon landing and maiden voyages
July 24
A Summer Restrospective

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Meet the Double-Reed Section

This group of woodwind instruments is
unified by the pair of reeds that create the
instruments’  sound as air is blown
between them.

The four double-reed instruments are the oboe, English horn, bassoon and contrabassoon. They have, as a group, a distinctive sound, often described as nasal.

The oboe first appeared in the mid-17th century and continued to evolve until the late 19th century, at which point the design and construction of the modern oboe were fully established.

English horn (l)
oboe (r)
While the oboe is the soprano member of the double-reed family, the English horn (or cor Anglais) is the tenor member, sounding a perfect fifth below the oboe. Its bulbous bell gives it a tone that is typically described as more mellow and plaintive than that of the oboe, closer in tonal quality to the oboe d’amore, an early member of the family. It is typically scored only when its unusual tone quality is desired.

contrabassoon (l)
bassoon (r)
The bassoon plays the role of the bass-baritone member of the double-reed family. It has been produced in its modern form since the early 19th century, but increasing demands on capabilities of instruments and players in the 19th century— particularly larger concert halls requiring greater volume—and the rise of virtuoso composer-performers spurred further refinement.

The low-pitched contrabassoon is probably scored so rarely in band music because few musicians—other than those who regularly play the contrabassoon in symphony orchestras—have access to them.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spring Pops Concerts

Jazz Vocalist Amanda Carr
The Concord Band returns with Spring Pops concerts featuring jazz vocalist Amanda Carr, at the Performing Arts Center, 51 Walden St. in Concord. Tickets are available through our sponsoring organizations.
The Concord Band will perform an exciting “Swing into Spring” program. Conductor James O’Dell welcomes returning jazz vocalist Amanda Carr, a multi-styled vocalist who has performed and recorded in the United States and Italy. According to Nat Hentoff of the Wall Street Journal, “Amanda is a pianist and composer, she sings and swings with the unaffected confidence of a genuine jazz improviser. She is an authentic musician.”

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Guest Artist Spotlight: Renowned Jazz Vocalist Amanda Carr

Guest Artist Amanda Carr
Jazz Vocalist
Boston-based Amanda Carr, daughter of a big band vocalist and trumpeter, is a multi-styled vocalist/pianist who got her start professionally in the rock and pop genre. In recent years she has become a vocalist focused on fresh interpretations of the Great American Songbook, receiving critical acclaim as a jazz singer from listeners and some of the toughest reviewers around.

For over two decades, sheʼs performed and recorded both in the U.S. and Italy. Twice a feature story by respected writer and author Nat Hentoff in The Wall Street Journal, she garnered global exposure as he hailed her, “...a true jazz singer in a time of wannabes.” Sheʼs also featured in Hentoffʼs latest best-seller, “At the Jazz Band Ball: 60 Years on the Jazz Scene.” Among many guest artist appearances, Amanda has been featured vocalist with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Orchestra, legacy big bands such as The Artie Shaw Orchestra, Harry James Band, and the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Sheʼs headlined at the EuroJazz Festival in Italy along with James Moody and George Mraz, and recorded “Live in San Giorgio” with Trio Martinale in 1999. Her 2011 tour in Australia was exceptionally well-received.

Carr composed and performed award-winning music for two PBS documentaries with “The Story of Golf” garnering an Emmy Nomination and awards for her musical contributions to “Boston Red Sox: 100 Years of Baseball History”. Her original work with childrenʼs music for the “LilʼIguana” series is among her favorite composing and recording projects. Her most recent big band recording has been on multiple Jazz Best seller lists and debuted #32 on the National Billboard Charts in 2010. She founded “American Big Band Preservation Society” that same year, a not for profit that preserves the essence of American musical heritage.

With five jazz vocal recordings and distribution and airplay in dozens of countries, Amanda continues to perform with her own group while a popular guest vocalist with other ensembles. Currently, she is Artist Liaison for the esteemed organization, Boston Women in Media and Entertainment (, publishing a monthly on-line interview series.

[Read More]

Monday, March 10, 2014

Concord Band Soars in “Flights of Fancy”

On March 8th at 8 PM the Concord Band presented their Winter Concert, dubbed “Flights of Fancy,” to resounding appreciation by the audience.  Music Director Jim O’Dell and the trumpet soloist, Lewis Buckley, along with all of the band members have robbed me of the opportunity to criticize any aspects of this event, because this was as close to a flawless performance as I have ever witnessed.  The band played as a tight ensemble with impeccable intonation and magnificent dynamic control.  It was truly a delightful experience!  I am going to note these selections out of order, focusing on the aesthetic impact rather than the chronological.

Beyond the Horizon by Rossano Galante is a lush representation of the earth’s far-away bounds, and it features soaring melodic lines and majestically blended brass.  People who live in Glass Houses by John Philip Sousa, with movements titled The Champaignes, The Rhine Wines, The Whiskies and The Convention of the Cordials may seem to be a bit of an odd inclusion in a program about flight, but as Jim O’Dell pointed out in his opening comments, “You can get selections, called “flights”, of beers in a tavern, and these individuals are all capable of getting us a little high”!  The movements also take the listener to various countries around the world, on a potable voyage of the senses.  The band performed this whimsical number with facility and great good humor, a very satisfying piece indeed.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

2014 Winter Concert

Flights of Fancy

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Concord Band

James O’Dell, Music Director
Steven Barbas, Assistant Conductor
Lewis Buckley, Trumpet Soloist


Beyond the HorizonRossano Galante
ApolloJohn Pennington
People Who Live in Glass HousesJohn Philip Sousa; ed. John R. Bourgeois
  1. The Champaignes
  2. The Rhine Wines
  3. The Whiskies
  4. The Convention of the Cordials
DuskSteven Bryant
The Yellow Rose of Texas VariationsTraditional; arr. Lewis J. Buckley
Lewis Buckley, trumpet


Aerial FantasyMichael A. Mogensen
Tribute to DocLewis J. Buckley
Lewis Buckley, trumpet
Wings Across AmericaRoger Cichy

Read all notes for this program...

Beyond the Horizon

Beyond the Horizon (2009) by Rossano Galante was commissioned by and is dedicated to the Point Pleasant Boro High School Band, Pt. Pleasant, N.J. The work is a dynamic composition, encompassing majestic brass fanfares and sweeping melodic lines. The piece is built on two themes that musically paint a picture of the Earth’s breathtakingly beautiful horizon. (Source: published score)


John Pennington’s Apollo (1968) is aleatoric (“chance”) music. The aleatoric element depends on the players, not the composer or conductor. In most cases, each player is free to choose the actual pitches s/he will play, and the moment s/he will play them, within the limitations imposed by his part and the conductor. Except for the flute solo, this work does not consist of melody or harmony, but a series of sound events. The task of the conductor is to shape and control these events into a coordinated and unified whole. (Source: published score)

People Who Live in Glass Houses

John Philip Sousa is widely known for his marches, but he also wrote many other works including a number of suites. People Who Live in Glass Houses (A Bacchanal Suite in Four Movements) is a unique and lively four-movement suite composed one year before the Sousa Band’s world tour of 1910. Each movement is a musical representation of the country or region where a particular type of drink originated (The Champaignes, The Rhine Wines, The Whiskeys, The Convention of the Cordials). The piece was revised for orchestra and also used for the revival of Sousa’s operetta, The Bride Elect, in 1923. (Source: JRO and published score)


Dusk by Steven Bryant (2004) is a simple, chorale-like work, capturing the reflective calm of dusk, paradoxically illuminated by the fiery hues of sunset. Wrote Bryant, “I'm always struck by the dual nature of this experience, as if witnessing an event of epic proportions silently occurring in slow motion. Dusk is intended as a short, passionate evocation of this moment of dramatic stillness.” (Source: Steven Bryant)

The Yellow Rose of Texas Variations

The arrangement of The Yellow Rose of Texas Variations began when the Coast Guard Band arranged for a tour throughout Texas in 1995, and euphonium soloist Dan Vinson, a native of Henderson TX, asked Lewis Buckley if he would write a traditional theme and variations solo for him based on "The Yellow Rose of Texas." Buckley, who, as a trumpet soloist himself, had played all the great Herbert L. Clarke variations-based solos, leaped at the chance. Yellow Rose became a worldwide hit among euphonium and trumpet soloists. (Source: Lew Buckley)

Aerial Fantasy

Aerial Fantasy (2005, Pulitzer Prize nominee, 2007), commissioned by The United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C., is a work inspired by the thrill and exhilaration of flight. Aerial Fantasy utilizes a variety of musical elements to symbolize the concept of flying: ascending motives, quick tempi, energetic rhythms, and soaring melodies and countermelodies. The contrasting slow section of the work summons feelings of warmth, peace, beauty and majesty—emotional splendors one might experience while hovering above the clouds or above the earth itself. The composition then continues with a return of the initial material and a renewal of the work’s drive and energy. Finally, the music concludes in dramatic and invigorating fashion, encompassing an awesome display of speed, power, precision and agility—characteristics synonymous with America’s magnificent Air Force and with every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. (Source: Michael A. Mogensen)

Tribute to Doc

Lewis Buckley, when he was Coast Guard Band Director, wrote both The Yellow Rose of Texas Variations and Tribute to Doc for Coast Guard Band soloists to perform on tours through their home towns. Tribute to Doc (originally titled Bell-Flight, 1994) was written for Jose Cordero for a mid-’80’s western tour in his hometown, El Paso, TX. Jose was the high-flying lead player in the Band's jazz ensemble, and Buckley wrote the piece with the famous Doc Severinsen in mind, because that’s how Jose played. Bell-Flight never caught on as a title, so Buckley later renamed it after the man who inspired the music. Buckley said, “I’m thrilled to have been asked to play both solos on the same program. It’s great to play Tribute to Doc with The Concord Band again, and I’m especially pleased about Yellow Rose, which I’ve never had the opportunity to play before.” (Source: Lew Buckley)

Wings Across America

Wings Across America (2012) unfolds as a dramatic musical narrative of the WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots) and depicts various stages that these inspiring women went through to serve their country during WW II. Following an opening celebratory fanfare to the WASPs, the work dramatically turns to America at war and the need for all Americans to contribute to the war effort. The musical textures become very martial, reflecting the military training of women preparing to become WASPs. Cichy uses a variety of musical devices to portray this period: melodies made up of bugle calls, march-like textures, and an embedded Morse code repeating strand of WASP (dit-da-da, dit-da, dit-dit-dit, dit-da-da-dit). At various times during the piece, Cichy throws in short paraphrases of “The Air Force Song” (sometimes referred to as “Off We Go, Into the Wild Blue Yonder”). The passion for flying and a willingness to leave family and friends to serve a nation at war is reflected in the slower, more lyrical segment of the work. The women of the WASPs carried out their assigned duties with courage, guts, and skill. This spirit is characterized in the final section of the work. (Source: Roger Cichy)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Concord Band “Flights of Fancy” Honors Women in the Air Force

The Concord Band’s March 8, 2014 Winter Concert theme is Flights of Fancy, but it could just as well be “award-winning.”

In January 2014, the Concord Band received a national award for community bands, the Sudler Silver Scroll Award, presented each year by the John Philip Sousa Foundation to one or two bands in North America that have “demonstrated particularly high standards of excellence in music presentation, and have played a significant and leading role in the cultural and musical environment in their respective communities."  One of the pieces Music Director Jim O’Dell has chosen is Aerial Fantasy by the contemporary Maryland composer Michael Mogensen who was nominated for a 2007 Pulitzer Prize for that composition.  Rhode Island composer and Concord Band favorite Roger Cichy wrote Wings Across America in honor of the World War II era Women Airforce Service Pilots or WASPs. The WASPs received the 2010 Air Force Association Lifetime Achievement Award, although an award they never received was GI benefits and they were not even acknowledged as Veterans until 1977. Whether ferrying military from one location to another, test flying aircraft, flight instructing or towing target for artillery practice, the women of the WASPs carried out their assigned duties with courage, guts, and skill and served as role model for later women astronauts and USAF pilots.

Guest Artist Lewis Buckley
Lewis Buckley, retired conductor of the US Coast Guard Band, is a composer and trumpet soloist while he conducts the Metropolitan Wind Symphony.  Lew arranged Dixieland Live! on commission from the Concord Band and played the trumpet part in the Concord Band’s Dixieland ensemble that was featured at the Concord Band’s 50th anniversary concert in 2009.  He returns as trumpet soloist on March 8 to perform two of his own compositions for trumpet.  Originally called Bell-Flight, Buckley renamed his 1980s composition A Tribute to Doc in honor of trumpeter and band leader Doc Severinsen.  Buckley wrote it for a Coast Guard Band trumpet soloist and said that he renamed it, “because it was Doc’s great playing that inspired my younger years and the style of the piece.” Buckley’s Yellow Rose of Texas Variations were also written for a Coast Guard Band soloist, this time a euphonium player.  Following the form of the famous Carnival of Venice variations, the piece is designed to display the soloist’s virtuosity.  Because the piece is so popular, Buckley has arranged it for various other soloists including trumpet, which will give Buckley a second opportunity to demonstrate his virtuosity to the appreciative Concord Band audience.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

"Flights of Fancy" Program

The Concord Band continues its 55th season with Flights of Fancy, featuring trumpet soloist Lewis Buckley, at the Performing Arts Center, 51 Walden Street, Concord, at 8:00 PM on Saturday, March 8, 2014.

The program opens with the dramatic Beyond the Horizon by Rosanno Galante. This majestic and sweeping work is based on two themes that represent the magnificence of the earth’s horizon.

John Philip Sousa is widely known for his marches, but he also wrote many other works, including a number of suites. People Who Live In Glass Houses is a unique and lively four-movement suite composed one year before the world tour of the Sousa Band in 1910. Each movement is a musical representation of the country or region where a particular type of drink originated: “The Champaignes”, “The Rhine Wines”, “The Whiskeys”, and “The Convention of the Cordials”.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Concord Band Selected for "North America's Most Prestigious Award for Community Concert Bands"

The Concord Band is thrilled to announce that we have been awarded the Sudler Silver Scroll, an international recognition for community concert bands sponsored by the John Philip Sousa Foundation. We are the first band in New England to be so honored. 

In his congratulatory letter informing Music Director James O'Dell of this honor, Dr Ron Keller, chairman of the selection committee, said,

The purpose of this recognition is "to identify, recognize and honor a community band which has demonstrated particularly high standards of excellence in music presentation, and has played a significant and leading role in the cultural and musical environment in their respective community." In the opinion of the selection committee, your band certainly met or surpassed these criteria.
The John Philip Sousa Foundation is a non-profit foundation "...dedicated to the promotion of international understanding through the medium of band music. Through the administration of band related projects, the foundation seeks to uphold the standards and ideals of that icon of the American spirit, John Philip Sousa. Just as the name Sousa is synonymous with bands, so bands are bridges which connect the music and culture of all strata of our society."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lew Buckley to Perform at Winter Concert

Guest Artist Lew Buckley
Conductor, Composer, Trumpet Soloist
Lewis J. Buckley was born in Columbus, Ohio, but considers himself a native of Florida, the state in which he grew up. He earned his undergraduate degree from the Eastman School of Music and his Master's degree from Connecticut College. While at Eastman, he earned the Performer's Certificate for outstanding performance on the trumpet, and he studied conducting and composition.

As a conductor, Buckley brings to the podium more than 35 years' professional experience in an unusually wide range of music-making. He is equally at home conducting, writing, or performing, with bands, orchestras, and choruses, in all styles of music from classical to commercial to jazz. The guest artists whom he has conducted reflect his range of experience; they include Walter Cronkite, opera giant Placido Domingo, Lorrie Morgan and Lone Star of country fame, the Motown sound of Martha Reeves, and many others.

He continues to compose, arrange, and publish prolifically, bringing to his work the knowledge earned in 40 years on the podium, and his music is widely performed. He also remains an active trumpet soloist, frequently combining solo appearances with conducting, often in premiere performances of his own commissioned works.