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."

To qualify for the award, the Band had to undergo a rigorous application and review process. The music director must have tenure of at least five years, and the band repertoire had to reflect the high standards of the Foundation. The selection committee examined musical programs, press releases, and concert reviews going back three years. The Band submitted a CD comprising highlights of live performances from the past two years, which was ranked against other applicants in a blind audition.

The band received letters of endorsement from community partners including Friends of the Performing Arts in Concord (FOPAC), Rotary Club of Concord, Picnic in the Park of Concord, Fruitlands Museum of Harvard MA, as well as some of our most supportive Guest Conductors.

In his letter of recommendation, Lieutenant Colonel Steven Grimo, former commander and music director of the US Air Force Academy band and professor of music at Malone University, who has appeared as Guest Conductor for the Concord Band, said,
The Concord Band is one ensemble which has become woven into our American Band Heritage. Throughout our profession, it is safe to say the Concord Band has become a model community instrumental performing organization.
Freelance composer, clinician and conductor Roger Cichy commented,
I have become a real fan of this community band. They have the ‘right stuff’, from their incredible facility at 51 Walden Street, to their outstanding conductor, James O’Dell, to the large and appreciative audiences that they perform for throughout the year. Since their 50th Anniversary concert... I have visited a few rehearsals every now and then. I am amazed to see the same faces. They love what they’re doing, they play with passion, and they continually uphold high standards of performance. To me, this is what an award-winning community band is all about.
Composer, conductor and trumpeter Lew Buckley, former director of the US Coast Guard band and music director of the Metropolitan Wind Symphony noted,
Everything about this organization bespeaks quality.... They are flourishing under the leadership of their current conductor, James O'Dell. He is a perfect fit for them, in that he combines a warm public personality with the excellent musicianship Concord Band audiences have come to expect.
The Band is very proud of this recognition, which is a testament to the hard work of our volunteer members, who are dedicated to presenting the highest quality and most entertaining concert band programs we can. In his letter of support, Concord Band Music Director Emeritus Dr William McManus wrote,
l would be remiss if l did not comment on the outstanding work done by the band members themselves over and above performing in the ensemble. The band is entirely self-governed and self-supported. The dedication of the members in maintaining the Concord Band as an important cultural resource to the community of Concord as well as an important artistic and musical outlet for its members is quite remarkable. It was indeed an honor for me to have been associated with this outstanding organization for so many years.
We in turn must acknowledge the wonderful legacy of our Music Director Laureate, the late Mr William Toland, and Music Director Emeritus, Dr William McManus, who have shaped the character of the ensemble. Music Director James O'Dell continues to build on that foundation and to guide us as we strive to perfect our craft. Of course, we could not exist without the enduring support of our audience, who provide us encouragement and welcome us as part of a greater cultural community.