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.

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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)