Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Holiday Pops with the Concord Band

Featuring Guest Artist John Ferrillo
Principal Oboe with the BSO

December 11 & 12, 2015
Review by Vanessa Rene

The Concord Band has proven once again that music makes the holidays brighter with their annual Holiday Pops program this past weekend. Normally, we don’t write reviews of Pops programs because, after all, they’re Pops programs, right?  This one was completely different, though, through the addition of solo performances by John Ferrillo, Principal Oboist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  His inspired performances left the audience transfixed, including this reviewer and several of her friends in the audience who are, after all, students of the oboe as well.

The Concord Band is a gem, and the Greater Boston community is very fortunate to have this group as a cornerstone of the community.  They performed several well-known favorites, such as Overture to a Winter Festival by James Curnow (commissioned by the Concord Band in 1995), Chanukah is Here by Calvin Custer, Swingin’ Santa, arranged by William McManus and Auld Lang Syne, a stirring and emotional arrangement of the traditional theme by the late William Toland, founding director of the Concord Band and long-time educator in the Bedford School System.  These winter favorites were played cleanly and crisply, as is to be expected of this high-caliber performing group.

The Band also performed some pieces that were featured in their Autumn Concert:   Old Churches, by Michael Colgrass, Carmina Burana, mvts. 12 and 13, by Carl Orff (band arrangement by J. Krance), and Incantation and Dance, by John Barnes Chance—all intense and compelling pieces.

A new piece, Minor Alterations by David Lovrien, consists of many old favorite Christmas melodies set in a minor mode.  Conducted by Assistant Director Steve Barbas, it is a bit like “Mary Poppins” meets “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” and was thoroughly delightful.

Friday, November 20, 2015

BSO Principal Oboist John Ferrillo to Perform

John Ferrillo
Principal Oboe, Boston Symphony Orchestra
The Concord Band is honored to have John Ferrillo, principal oboe of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as its soloist for the Holiday Pops concerts on December 11 and 12, 2015. John Ferrillo grew up in Bedford, playing oboe in the concert band of Bedford High School under the Concord Band’s first music director, William M. Toland. Ferrillo will play three numbers for oboe and wind ensemble in his appearance with the Concord Band: Autumn Soliloquy by James Barnes, Gabriel’s Oboe by Ennio Morricone from the 1986 movie The Mission, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Variations on a Theme by Glinka.

Harvard resident John Ferrillo played oboe in the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and attended Curtis Institute. Prior to joining the BSO in 2001, Ferrillo was the principal oboe in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He has taught and performed at the Aspen and Waterloo festivals and currently serves on the faculty of the New England Conservatory, Boston University, and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

It’s Time to Make Your Concord Band Holiday Pops Reservations

Holiday Pops 2105 Poster
Now is the time to make your reservations for the Concord Band’s annual Holiday Pops concerts, to be held at the Performing Arts Center at 51 Walden Street in Concord on December 11th and 12th at 8:00 PM. Guest artist: Boston Symphony Orchestra principal oboist John Ferrillo. There’s no better way to begin the holiday season than to enjoy an evening of great music and fun in the festive 51 Walden holiday atmosphere! Holiday Pops with the Concord Band has become a tradition with many area families and sells out early. Table seating is priced at $25 per adult and $15 per child (under 12), including beverages and snacks. Return your reservation card today! Holiday Pops reservations can also be made by visiting concordband.org or by calling 978-897-9969.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Review: "Mystical Moments"

2015 Fall Concert Poster
Review by Patti Lake

It is a wonderful experience to be treated to an evening of music where one is merely a listener and not a performer. The Concord Band Fall Concert, “Mystical Moments,” did not disappoint. After a little bit of a slow start, the Concord Band picked up momentum as the evening progressed and did not fail to impress with their renditions and execution of a very challenging program.

The band opened with Prelude and Dance of the Mystic Flames arranged by W. Rhoades from original material by Alexander Scriabin. The good dynamic contrasts created levels of excitement throughout the piece and a few minor intonation issues—perhaps due to the chilly concert hall—were quickly corrected as the instruments warmed. As the pitch came into focus and the rhythms tightened, the band appeared to collectively relax and focus on the wonderful sound they are so capable of creating.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Some of the Percussionists’ Less-Often-Called-For Instruments

Almost every instrumental section of the modern western concert band includes multiple instruments: flutes and piccolos; Bb, Eb, alto and bass clarinets; alto, tenor and baritone saxophones; trumpets and cornets; tenor and bass trombones, etc. But no section of the band includes anything close to the number of distinct instruments as does the percussion section.

Many concert attendees are familiar with the most frequently-played percussion instruments: timpani (set of four or five), bass drum, pair of crash cymbals and suspended cymbal, tam-tam (gong) snare drums of various depths, various kinds and sizes of tom toms, triangle, tambourine, maracas, wood block, sleigh bells and the principal members of the “mallets” family: the xylophone, glockenspiel (bells), vibraphone and chimes.

What we want to do in this article is to make you more familiar with a few of the more important among the less-often called-for percussion “accessory” instruments. (It’s not clear why these are referred to as “accessory”, but to call them “minor” might lead to confusion.) We include here only instruments that have been fairly often called for in music played by the Concord Band. To hear how these instruments sound, visit the Internet.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fall Concert 2015

Mystical Moments

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Concord Band

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


James O’Dell conducting
Prelude and Dance of the Mystic FlamesAlexander Scriabin; arr. W. Rhoads
The Sorcerer’s ApprenticePaul Dukas; trans. M. Hindsley
“Chernomor's March” from Ruslan and LyudmilaMikhail Glinka; arr. J. Vabulas
Incantation and DanceJohn Barnes Chance


Nobles of the Mystic ShrineJohn Philip Sousa; ed. F. Fennell
Old ChurchesMichael Colgrass
Carmina BuranaCarl Orff; arr. J. Krance
  1. Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi (O Fortune)
  2. Fortune plango vulnera (I bemoan the wounds of Fortune)
  3. Ecce gratum (Behold, the pleasant spring)
  4. Tanz—Uf dem anger (Dance—On the lawn)
  5. Were diu werlt alle min (Were all the world mine)
  6. In taberna quando sumus (When we are in the tavern)
  7. In trutina (In the balance)
  8. Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi (O Fortune)
Read all notes for this program...

Prelude and Dance of the Mystic Flames

William E. Rhoads’ setting for band entitled Prelude and Dance of the Mystic Flames was suggested by the Prelude in C, Op 13, No 1, for piano of Alexander Scriabin. Paying a nod to Scriabin’s interest in mysticism, the arrangement captures the lush and complex harmonic sonorities and dissonant musical system of the original Scriabin piano Prelude, opening with a slow and majestic andante, and concluding with a brisk and furious allegro. (Source: JRO)

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is set to a musical form known as a scherzo (joke) by Paul Dukas. The work is widely recognized thanks to the Disney animated film classic, Fantasia, in which Mickey Mouse plays the title role. A highly programmatic and challenging work arranged for band by Mark Hindsley, the arrangement places much of the difficult orchestral violin and viola writing in the band’s flute, oboe and clarinet parts. The work captures the magic of the sorcerer’s apprentice casting his master’s magical spell on the broomstick to bring water from the well, leading to a tidal flooding and furious conclusion. (Source: JRO)

Chernomor’s March

"Chernomor’s March" comes from the Russian composer Mikhail Glinka’s setting of the 1842 opera, Ruslan and Lyudmila, based upon the famous mock epic poem of the same name by Alexandr Pushkin, in which Chernomor is an old dwarf with a long white beard who is also an evil sorcerer. Arranged for symphonic wind ensemble by Concord Band clarinetist Jerry Vabulas, the march portrays an individual (Chernomor) and his profound sense of self-importance. Beginning with a pompous opening motive that repeats many times, each restatement says the same thing over and over, just a little louder each time. (Source: JRO)

Incantation and Dance

The two sections of John Barnes Chance’s Incantation and Dance contrast substantially in both length and nature. The Incantation is a short, mournful legato melody. It is full of mystery and expectation, wandering, instability, and without tonality. Beginning on a misterioso flute note, instruments are gradually added, but the general dynamic level remains soft, hushed, and waiting, until the feroce and fortissimo of the accented repeated triplets, casting the final incantation. The Dance also begins quietly, but percussion instruments quickly enter, one by one, building a rhythmic pattern of incredible complexity and drive. The entrance of the brass and winds creates an increase in the rhythmic tension, as the dance grows wilder and more frenzied. After a short variation of material from the Incantation, the beginning of the Dance section is once again represented by the percussion. The piece gathers force as the entire ensemble draws together for a dramatic and exciting conclusion. (Source: Music Program Notes)

Nobles of the Mystic Shrine

Among John Philip Sousa’s many marches, the instrumentation in Nobles of the Mystic Shrine is unique in that it includes harp, triangle, and tambourine. The inclusion of these non-traditional marching band instruments provides a setting, texture, and style derived from the clanking and chiming Turkish music associated with the Shriners, previously known as the “Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.” Also unique is the musical form—an introduction and first strain set in Bb minor, unusual for the majority of Sousa’s marches. Sousa was a Shriner and member of the Almas Temple in Washington, D. C., being named the first honorary director of the Temple Shrine Band in 1922. (Source: JRO)

Old Churches

In Old Churches, Michael Colgrass employs Gregorian-chant type techniques to create a slightly mysterious monastery scene filled with the prayers and chanting of monks in an old church. Gregorian chant is a form of church music which has been in existence since the 9th century. The chant unfolds through call and response patterns. One monk intones a musical idea, then the rest of the monks respond by singing back. This musical conversation continues throughout the piece, with the exception of a few brief interruptions. Perhaps they are the quiet comments church visitors make to one another. (Source: published score)

Carmina Burana

German-born composer Carl Orff is widely known not only for his musical output, but also for his internationally recognized and revolutionary music education method that continues to be employed by music educators around the globe. Carmina Burana sets to music 13th-century poems found in the Benedictine monastery of Beuron. In the original score of Carmina Burana, one of the most exciting works of the 20th century, the subtitle reads “Profane songs for singers and vocal chorus with instruments and magical pictures.” John Krance’s arrangement for band fully incorporates the vocal parts into the concert band instrumentation and authentically preserves the emotional and musical intent of the original orchestral/vocal setting. Originally consisting of 25 sections, this arrangement includes thirteen, about which Krance writes, “The work begins and ends depicting the crushing anguish of the victims of Fortune’s ruthless wheel ("O Fortuna," "Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi"); the remaining sections are devoted to the joys of spring and nature, the pleasures of the tavern and the gaming table, the delights of love, the irony of fate.” (Source: JRO and published score)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Concord Band Begins 57th Season with "Mystical Moments"

Join the Concord Band as we celebrate our 57th season, presenting both old gems and new works for symphonic concert band. We embark on our 2015-2016 season voyage with a program that presents a wide range of original compositions and arrangements for band, by composers born between 1865 and 1932. The program includes original works from the symphonic wind ensemble repertoire and arrangements of orchestral masterpieces.

Our Fall Concert, Mystical Moments, will be presented at 51 Walden, Concord’s Performing Arts Center, on Saturday, October 24, 2015, at 8:00 PM. The concert features music with programmatic undertones penned by American and international composers, and traverses a series of mysterious and magical musical episodes.

Old Churches is one of many original works by American-born composer Michael Colgrass, and is based on early church music known as Gregorian Chant. This mysterious monastic scene employs moments of aleatoric chance techniques (pitches played without rhythm at each player’s discretion) and unison call and response chant melodies.

Prelude and Dance of the Mystic Flames is a setting for band by William E. Rhoads suggested by the piano preludes of Alexander Scriabin. Paying a nod to Scriabin’s interest in mysticism, the arrangement for band captures the lush and complex harmonic sonorities and dissonant musical system of the original Scriabin piano preludes, opening with a slow and majestic Andante, and concluding with a brisk and furious Allegro.

German-born composer Carl Orff is widely known not only for his musical output, but also for his internationally-recognized and revolutionary music education method that continues to be employed by music educators around the globe. In the original score of Carmina Burana, one of the most exciting works of the 20th century, the subtitle reads “Profane songs for singers and vocal chorus with instruments and magical pictures”. John Krance’s arrangement for band fully incorporates the vocal parts into the concert band instrumentation and authentically preserves the emotional and musical intent of the original orchestral/ vocal setting. Originally consisting of twenty- five sections, this arrangement includes thirteen, about which Krance writes, “The work begins and ends depicting the crushing anguish of the victims of Fortune’s ruthless wheel (O Fortuna, Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi); the remaining sections are devoted to the joys of spring and nature, the pleasures of the tavern and the gaming table, the delights of love, the irony of fate”.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Memoir: The Music that Made Me Love Symphonic Band

by Adena Schutzberg, Clarinet
(Author's note: If possible, read this while listening to the audio.)

A Rather Poor and Unmotivated Musician

May 1975 En-ka Parade. I'm the one with
black hair whose clarinet is obscured.
(Photo by Christopher Brown)
Like many of the other kids in my town, I started music lessons in fourth grade. Like many of those kids, I didn't practice much. I really enjoyed the participatory part of music. That's fifth grade me in a clarinet rank in the Winchester, MA elementary school 1975 All Star Band. I played in junior high, too, but really I was a rather poor, unmotivated musician through ninth grade.

The summer after ninth grade my mother signed my brother and me up for the University of New Hampshire's Summer Youth Music School (SYMS). We didn't know what to expect, but we did know that the first day everyone, all 350 or so students, had to audition. By that evening everyone was assigned to one or more ensembles for the two week school.

Campers graced the cover
of the 1979 double album.
There were four wind groups: two concert bands, a symphonic band and a wind ensemble. While all the groups were good (better than our high school band, certainly) it was clear musicianship rose in that order. My brother, a year old and far more talented than I, was placed in the wind ensemble and one of the jazz bands. To my great surprise, I was assigned to the symphonic band. I was seated about where I now sit in the Concord Band, one of the last clarinets in the last row of clarinets.

Let's Tune to Adena!

The first day of rehearsal we took our seats and picked up our folders. I looked through the music and it looked really hard. Then, the conductor, Walter Pavasaris (I remember his name to this day) said it was time to tune to.... Adena. I have no idea why he chose to tune to a third clarinet, but he did. And, once or twice more during the two weeks we tuned to me. I thought it was awesome. I was "somebody."

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Fall Concert: Mystical Moments

Winter Concert Poster
James O’Dell begins his seventh year as the Concord Band’s Music Director. "Mystical Moments" will be held at the Center for Performing Arts at 51 Walden in Concord at 8:00 pm on Saturday October 24, 2015. Pieces will include some of the most exciting, powerful, and lyrical contemporary and late Romantic' pieces for concert band.

A new twist this year by the Sudler Award-winning ensemble is that the concert will be free, although a donation will be invited. The Concord Band hopes this will encourage new audience members to enjoy the pieces that Music Director James O'Dell has selected.

The Concord Band is sponsored in part by grants from the Concord, Harvard, and Bolton Cultural Councils.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Announcing our 2015–2016 Season!

This season the Concord Band continues its exploration of the great works for symphonic concert band. 
  • The fall concert, Mystical Moments, presents John Krance’s exhilarating wind band transcription of Orff’s beloved Carmina Burana. Entirely instrumental in concept, the vocal parts have been fully incorporated into the band. Krance captures the throbbing rhythms, tenderness and heartfelt simplicity of the original composition in this not to be missed performance. 
  • Music from the Woods, our second formal concert, features the brilliant artistry of marimba percussion soloist Wei-Chen Lin in the Concerto for Marimba and Wind Ensemble (Chung).
  • Our 2015 Holiday Pops concert presents BSO principal oboist John Ferrillo as guest soloist in a program that includes works for oboe and band, along with holiday favorites, and an appearance by the man in the red suit! The Holiday Pops, a Concord tradition since 1976, is the perfect kickoff for your holiday season and sells out early. 
  • Our Spring Pops features jazz vocalist Amanda Carr, another Concord favorite. Admission prices to Pops concerts are family friendly; there is no charge for the October and March concerts. Don’t miss a minute of this very special season!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Press Release: Concord Band will play at Fruitlands

The Concord Band at Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Mass.
CONCORD.  The Sudler Award-winning Concord Band will play at Fruitlands Museum, 102 Prospect Road, Harvard, for the 30th year beginning at 7:15 p.m. June 18.

Music director Jim O’Dell and the band honor the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War with a theme of The Blue and the Grey. In addition to a medley by that name, O’Dell has chosen Civil War era “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Marching through Georgia,” as well as “Ashokan Farewell.”

The band will play selections from its Holiday Pops programs June 25, including Alfred Reed’s Russian Christmas Music.

The band’s traditional Independence Day concert will be July 2 at Fruitlands and at 3 p.m. July 4 at Emerson Playground in Concord. The July 9 Fruitlands concert features selections from Broadway musicals that became movies. These include Oklahoma, The Sound of Music, 1776 and Les Miserables.

On July 16, there will be dance music under the stars, including music of Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Johann Strauss, Henry Mancini and George Gershwin. The 30th season ends July 23 with a Summer Retrospective that includes highlights from previous concerts.

In the event of rain, Fruitlands concerts are canceled. Parking is $15 with proceeds benefiting the Concord Band and Fruitlands. The July 4 concert will be held at 51 Walden St. in Concord in the event of rain.

For information: 978-897-9969 or fruitlands.org.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Summer Season Schedule

2015 Fruitlands Summer Concert Series
Fruitlands Museum, Harvard MA
Thursdays at 7:15 pm
June 18
The Blue and the Grey—Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War
June 25
A Winter for Summer Festival—Music from the Concord Band Holiday Pops
July  2
America the Beautiful—A Patriotic Celebration
July  9
From Broadway to Hollywood—Musicals that became Movies
July 16
Dancing Under the Stars—Celebrating Dance Classics
July 23
A Summer Retrospective—Audience and Band Season's Favorites

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Harvard Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

2015 Picnic in the Park
Emerson Field, Concord MA
Saturday, July 4, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

We play at 3:00, but come down early and enjoy all of the other activities! This event is rain or shine. Rain location is The Performing Arts Center at 51 Walden Street, Concord, MA.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Spring Pops 2015 with the Concord Band & Vocalist Amanda Carr

Submitted to The Concord Journal

The Concord Band traditionally has been sponsored in the two evenings of their Pops Concerts by the Concord Rotary and the Emerson Hospital Auxiliary.  This year, the Saturday night performance was the sole domain of the Concord Band, and they hosted a wonderful, spirited evening of entertainment with the magically-effervescent Amanda Carr as vocalist on some time-honored favorites. This was truly a night to remember.

In true Pops fashion, there were marches by John Phillip Sousa and Karl L. King, satisfying in their dynamic control and pitch-perfect execution. There were old time favorites including Turkey in the Straw, a traditional tune set in a quirky and entertaining new motif by a Concord Band favorite, Lewis Buckley, currently director of the Metropolitan Wind Symphony.  The Dixieland combo featured in Tailgate Concerto was spot-on perfect in their interpretation of traditional New Orleans style jazz numbers.  A Tribute to Spike Jones is a lighthearted romp, featuring a very different type of cymbal solo, performed with great humor and aplomb by long-time percussionist Buck Grace.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Meet the Trumpet Section

The Instrument

Trumpet, cornet, and piccolo trumpet (t to b)
The trumpet is one of the oldest wind instruments, dating back to 1500 BCE or earlier. The trumpet section of the Concord Band has nine members, which is fortunate since some of the compositions we play have as many as eight different parts to be played on trumpet or cornet.

The trumpet and cornet, almost always pitched in B♭ in the concert band, are the highest sounding of all of the instruments of the brass family. The two instruments, pictured in column two, have few differences. They have the same pitch range and sound almost the same.

Some would argue that their different bore shapes (the trumpet is cylindrical, like the trombone, while the cornet is conical, like the French horn), make the trumpet and cornet very different, but in a concert band trumpet section, one will often find them intermixed. A composition for band can have as many as four parts intended for trumpet and four more for cornet. These parts will not always be played on the instrument called for.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Amanda Carr Sings for the Concord Band Spring Pops

Guest Artist Amanda Carr
Have you been waiting for Spring? Well, it’s time for the Concord tradition of the Concord Band Spring Pops concerts at 51 Walden! On Friday and Saturday April 10 and 11, 2015 at 8:00 pm, the Concord Band will be joined by jazz vocalist Amanda Carr for the 40th annual Spring Pops concerts.

Amanda will sing new arrangements of Anything Goes! and Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind; Gershwin’s Someone to Watch Over Me, Ray Noble’s The Very Thought of You, and Bill McManus’ arrangement for Amanda and the Concord Band of Mas Que Nada. Amanda Carr is the only honorary member of the Concord Band and a well-known Boston-based jazz vocalist who has been acclaimed for her performances by the Wall Street Journal among others. Since 2006, Concord Band Spring Pops audiences have eagerly awaited hearing Amanda perform with the Band.

Music Director Jim O’Dell has chosen a variety of band music to round out the Spring Pops program. The powerful K2: the Savage Mountain harkens back to this past winter with its representation of crampons on ice. Broadway and movie music includes songs by George Gershwin and highlights from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. On the humorous side, the Band will play A Salute to Spike Jones and a tongue-in-cheek arrangement of Turkey in the Straw by Concord Band friend and composer Lew Buckley.

Friday’s Pops concert, as usual, is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Concord and tickets to that concert are available from Rotary at sjpaving@aol.com or by calling 508-878- 6577.

This year the Saturday concert is sponsored by the Concord Band itself. Tickets at tables for 4 are available through the Concord Band’s phone line 978-897-9969, at   reservations@concordband.org, or online at www.mktix.com/cb. Free refreshments are provided.

For further information about the Concord Band and Spring Pops, see the Band’s website at www.concordband.org or the blog at blog.concordband.org. Continue the tradition by welcoming Spring with the Concord Band.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Announcing: Spring Pops! featuring Amanda Carr

Concord Band 2015 Spring Pops—Saturday, April 11, 8 p.m.

Please join us for an exuberant evening of music and celebration of Spring featuring award-winning jazz vocalist Amanda Carr. Tickets sell out early for this Concord treasure, now in its 39th year. Seating at “Pops-style” tables for 4 is available.

Tickets are $25 per adult, or $15 for child under 12.

Ordering tickets is easy. You may order tickets online, email Concord Band reservations, or phone us at (978) 897-9969.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Rotary Club of Concord Spring Pops with the Concord Band

The Rotary's 39th Annual April Pops features the award-winning Concord Band with popular jazz vocalist Amanda Carr in a exuberant evening of music and fellowship. "Pops-style" table seating, snacks, and cash bar. Silent auction benefits Rotary's program to build wells in Kenya. Concord Carlisle Interact students will sell artwork to benefit their own safe water project in Africa. Tickets are $25 per person or $100 for a table of four. Admission proceeds benefit Rotary's community and international service projects. Consider yourself invited to this popular event. Help Rotary make a difference in the world.

Tickets: (508) 878-6577 or order tickets by email.

Guest Artist Amanda Carr performs with the Concord Band

from: Concord, MA Patch
Submitted by June Grace

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Concord Band Presents a Thought-Provoking Program

Submitted to the Concord Journal—On Saturday, March 7, I had the pleasure of attending the Concord Band’s “Portraits” concert with my family, including two fifth graders and a third grader. The band, under the direction of James O’Dell, played a series of pieces that honored particular historical figures, beginning with Jack Kerouac. Dichotomy…Impressions of Kerouac began with a presentation of “Frere Jacques,” which then morphed into a 7/8 meter using fuller instrumentation, and the minor mode. This effect seems very popular with band composers lately: presenting a theme in one meter, and changing it to a modern, percussion-heavy setting with complicated rhythms. The swell of the final section evoked the impression of water, and one memorable moment was Judy Piermarini’s beautiful tenor saxophone solo.

One highlight of the program was A Movement for Rosa by Mark Camphouse, who created a piece in honor of Civil Rights Activist Rosa Parks. Jim O’Dell explained to the audience ahead of time that the music is intense, that it was designed to illustrate the challenges faced by Rosa Parks during her lifetime, and also the dignity and beauty of her character. Beginning with a single flute, the music builds emotionally and uncomfortably. At the end of the piece, we hear a stunning harmonic presentation of the unattributed American song “We Shall Overcome,” followed by an unsettling final chord with dissonance that reminds us all: We are not there yet.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

2015 Winter Concert


The Concord Band

James O’Dell, Music Director
Steven Barbas, Assistant Conductor
Jordan Rich, Narrator


Dichotomy ... Impressions of KerouacDaniel P. Lutz
Concord Band Commission (1997)
Symphony for Band No. 4 (West Point)Morton Gould
  1. Marches
A Movement for RosaMark Camphouse


Lincoln PortraitAaron Copland; trans. Walter Beeler
Jordan Rich, narrator
Of Sailors and WhalesW. Francis McBeth
Jordan Rich, narrator
  1. Ishmael
  2. Queequeg
  3. Father Mapple
  4. Ahab
  5. The White Whale
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Concord Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read all notes for this program...

Of Sailors and Whales

Of Sailors and Whales (Five Scenes from Melville) by W. Francis McBeth is a tone poem based on five scenes from the great American novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Melville’s story depicts the life of the sailor Ishmael as he boards the whaling boat the Pequod. The novel was influenced by real events of first mate Owen Chase on the Nantucket, Massachusetts whaling ship, the Essex, which was sunk by a sperm whale in the Pacific Ocean in 1820. Of Sailors and Whales was commissioned by and is dedicated to the California Band Directors Association, Inc., and was premiered in February 1990 by the California All-State Band, conducted by Francis McBeth. The work is subdedicated to Robert Lanon White, Commander USN (Ret.). Dr. W. Francis McBeth, who was born in March, 1933, in Lubbock, Texas, and passed away in January, 2012, was Professor of Music Emeritus at Ouachita University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas. (Source: Kimberly Williams)

Lincoln Portrait

During World War II, well known and respected conductor Andre Kostelanetz embarked on a series of concert programs promoting American music. Among the American composers commissioned to express the “magnificent spirit of our country” were William Schuman, Ferde Grofé, and Aaron Copland. Lincoln Portrait is Copland’s magnificent musical portrait of Abraham Lincoln, originally scored for orchestra in 1943, and transcribed for concert band by Walter Beeler in 1951. The opening simple, transparent, and solemn statements slowly unfold through a series of sequences arriving at the second expressive, and sentimental theme. Following a closing section between solo cornet and French horn, the work immediately transitions tempo (Subito Allegro), where the opening theme, Springfield Mountain, is developed, along with that of Camptown Races. After a lengthy instrumental romp, a slow unwinding of the tempo leads to the introduction of narration and quotes from the Gettysburg Address. The text is interwoven with the melodic material in a series of dramatic, contrasting, melancholy, and often spring-like and simplistic musical episodes, culminating in the final words of Lincoln’s historic address. The work is one of the earliest written for large ensemble and narrator. (Source: James Robert O’Dell)

A Movement for Rosa

A Movement for Rosa by Mark Camphouse was commissioned by the Florida Bandmasters Association and honors civil rights heroine Rosa Parks. A single movement—a quasi tone poem—contains three contrasting sections. Section I evokes Rosa’s early years, from her birth on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama, through her marriage in 1932 to Raymond Parks in Pine Level, Alabama. Section II portrays years of racial strife in Montgomery and the quest for social equality. The third section is one of quiet strength and serenity. The hymn, "We Shall Overcome," foreshadowed in Sections I and II by motivic fragmentation, is heard in its entirety near the end. The work’s final measures serve as an ominous reminder of racism’s lingering presence in modern American society. (Source: TRN Music Publisher)

Symphony for Band No. 4 (West Point)

Morton Gould composed many works for symphonic band, but his Symphony for Band No. 4 (West Point) is widely considered one of the earliest symphonies composed for modern concert band. The work was written for and performed at the West Point US Military Academy’s Sesquicentennial Celebration in 1952. The second movement, “Marches”, opens with a whimsical clarinet motif punctuated with cymbal and bass drum, a signal of what lies ahead with the upcoming call and response between winds and percussion. The first syncopated march theme is introduced by the flutes and oboes and soon developed through rapid-fire sixteenth note passages in each instrument section. The cleverly assembled development section combines martial flavored thematic material punctuated with presto rhythmic passages and contrasting legato musical material. Ending with a skillfully crafted fugue, the first march segues to the second march theme in 6/8 time, gradually pressing forward with faster and faster tempo to a very exciting finale. (Source: James Robert O’Dell)

Dichotomy... Impressions of Kerouac

Daniel P. Lutz
Concord Band Commission (1997)

Dichotomy…Impressions of Kerouac is a work for winds and percussion inspired by impressions of the American writer and poet, Jack Kerouac. The piece was commissioned by the Concord Band in 1997 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the writing of the novel On The Road, considered the defining work of the Beat Generation, as well as the 75th anniversary of Kerouac’s birth. Dichotomy is intended to be a non-verbal, musical interpretation of a man who inspired a generation. The idea of a “dichotomy,” or the two sides of the man, was spurred by the apparent co-existence of the radical and the traditional in Kerouac’s writings and life, from the extraordinarily structured environment and mores of immigrant French-Canadian Catholic beginnings to the almost surreal rebellious wanderings and amoral experimentation of the Beat Generation. Incorporated in this musical interpretation are elements of chance music or free improvisation within a highly structured musical form; the use of traditional/highly consonant folk melodies juxtaposed amongst dissonant experimental musical ideas … all revealing contrasting moods and emotions much like the composer’s overriding impression of the man who once described himself as a “strange solitary crazy Catholic mystic,” Jack Kerouac. (Source: Daniel P. Lutz)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Press Release: Jordan Rich to Appear with Concord Band

courtesy photo
Jordan Rich
Posted on Concord Wicked Local on Feb. 23, 2015 at 4:21 PM 

Boston radio personality Jordan Rich, of WBZ, will join the Concord Band for its Winter Concert at 8 p.m. March 7 at the Performing Arts Center, 51 Walden St., Concord. The theme is “Portraits,” and Rich will narrate Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” and W. Francis McBeth’s “Of Sailors and Whales,” a portrait of various characters from Herman Melville’s novel “Moby Dick.” Rich is a Boston radio veteran, having worked in the market for 36 years.

The band is excited about this collaboration, which is sponsored in part by a grant from the Concord Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

From 1996 to the present, Rich has hosted an all-night radio show on WBZ-AM 1030. At WBZ, he has interviewed thousands of authors, actors, athletes, historians, artists and scientists. Those included Concord Band music director Jim O’Dell and music director emeritus Bill McManus, who had an extended interview together on Rich’s program at the time of the band’s 50th anniversary and McManus’ transition to O’Dell in 2009.

They discussed community bands and the importance of the arts. In 2013, following the Concord Band’s Holiday Pops concert in the snow, O’Dell called in to Rich’s program on his way home and discussed the concert as well as the weather. When Jim later asked Rich if he would like to narrate “Lincoln Portrait,” Rich said that he was honored to be asked and that he had always wanted to narrate the Copland piece.

Copland wrote “Lincoln Portrait” in 1943 as part of a series of commissions and concert programs organized and led by conductor Andre Kostelanetz to promote American music. The Copland piece, which features words taken from various Lincoln speeches, is one of the earliest pieces written for large ensemble and narrator, and was transcribed in 1951 for band by Walter Beeler.

Each of the five movements of McBeth’s “Moby Dick” portrait for band begins with a quotation from Melville’s novel that Jordan Rich will read. It then offers an evocative musical portrait of that scene. The five movements (scenes) are Ishmael, Queequeg, Father Mapple, Ahab and The White Whale. This work is both intense and lyrical and includes nearly the entire band singing a hymn in the Father Mapple movement.

Other musical portraits chosen by music director Jim O’Dell, all written for band, include Marches from the Symphony No. 4 (West Point) of Morton Gould; "A Movement for Rosa," by Mark Camphouse, honoring the civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks; and “Dichotomy... Impressions of Kerouac," written for the Concord Band in 1997 by University of Massachusetts/Lowell Director of University Bands Daniel Lutz.

Gould wrote the West Point Symphony in 1952 for the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Military Academy, where he conducted the premiere with the Academy Band. Dan Lutz composed "Dichotomy" to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the writing of Kerouac’s novel “On The Road,” as well as the 75th anniversary of Kerouac’s birth. This Concord Band commission was also supported by the Lowell Cultural Council.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. For information and reservations: reservations@concordband.org

Friday, February 6, 2015

Winter Concert: Portraits

The Concord Band’s 56th Season Continues on Saturday, March 7th

by George Peter Alexander Healy
Join the Concord Band as we celebrate our 56th year of music making, continuing a season-long exploration of some of the great works for symphonic concert band. Our Winter Concert, Portraits, will be presented at the Performing Arts Center at 51 Walden Street in Concord, on Saturday, March 7, 2015, at 8:00 PM.

The concert features music written between 1943 and 1997 by eminent American composers, each presenting a unique and specific programmatic “portrait”. The concert presents a wide variety of musical styles and genres, and includes some of the very few pieces written for concert band and narrator.

Dichotomy...Impressions of Kerouac by UMass/Lowell Director of University Bands Daniel P. Lutz was inspired by the writings and life of the poet and Lowell native, Jack Kerouac. Commissioned by the Concord Band in 1997 with support from the Lowell Cultural Council, Lutz composed the work to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the writing of Kerouac’s novel On The Road, as well as the 75th anniversary of Kerouac's birth. Eclectic and, at times, other- worldly, the composition is based on the familiar round “Frère Jacques” and is masterfully crafted in four contrasting sections. Lutz includes a nod to the “Beat Generation” with the inclusion of an off-stage jazz tenor saxophone solo accompanied by bongos.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Guest Artist Spotlight: Jordan Rich

Radio personality Jordan Rich, will join the Concard Band as guest artist for the Winter 2015 concert, ”Portraits.” Rich will narrate Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait and W. Francis McBeth’s Of Sailors and Whales.

Guest Artist Jordan Rich
Jordan Rich was born and raised in Boston and has been a fixture on radio and TV for more than thirty-five years.  A communications major at Curry College in Milton, MA, Jordan began his career WRKO in Boston at age 18, working as weather reporter and morning show sidekick.  He was eventually promoted to morning co-host, and worked with radio greats Charlie Van Dyke and Norm Nathan.  Jordan also hosted an innovative Broadway/Hollywood music show titled “Music Sunday” for two years.

Jordan worked as a talk show host at WLLH-AM in Lowell, Massachusetts, and also handled weekend music shift at WSSH-FM. He became the WSSH-FM morning host and won numerous community awards.

In 1996, Jordan joined WBZ News Radio 1030 as a fill-in talk host,  eventually succeeded his longtime friend and mentor, the late Norm Nathan. Since then, he has interviewed thousands of authors, actors, athletes, historians, artists and scientists and has a loyal audience throughout 38 states and Canada. He often welcomes local and independent authors on his show and enjoys reading a stack of books each week in preparation.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Winter Concert Poster

Winter 2015 Concert Poster, "Portraits"