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.