Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Concord Band Spring Pops with Guest Vocalist Amanda Carr

In what has become a Concord tradition each spring, jazz vocalist Amanda Carr will be joining the Concord Band at its Spring Pops concerts on Friday and Saturday April 8 and 9, 2016, 8:00 pm, at 51 Walden (The Performing Arts Center) in Concord.

At the pops-style concerts with tables and refreshments, Amanda will sing new arrangements of Girl from Ipanema, When I Fall in Love, and Cry Me a River. She will also reprise favorite performances of William McManus’s arrangement for Amanda Carr of They All Laughed and Warren Barker’s arrangement of ‘S Wonderful, which also features a tenor saxophone solo by Judy Piermarini.
Amanda Carr
Guest Artist

Amanda Carr is the only honorary member of the Concord Band and an internationally-acclaimed Boston-based jazz vocalist who has been lauded for her performances in the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. She began singing professionally as a teenager in the rock and pop genre, playing in Boston-area nightclubs before focusing her attention on big band music. Paying homage to her big band musician parents, Amanda founded the American Big Band Preservation Society in 2009, a non-profit organization that helps preserve America’s musical heritage. Since 2006, Concord Band Spring Pops audiences have eagerly awaited the return of Amanda Carr as guest soloist with the Band.

Music Director Jim O’Dell has chosen a variety of concert band music to round out the Spring Pops program. From the Band’s Winter Concert, O’Dell selected The Redwoods by Rossano Galante and Selections from “Into the Woods” by Stephen Sondheim. Other numbers include Leroy Anderson and Disney movie medleys, along with traditional Dixieland and march music.

Friday’s Pops concert is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Concord for the 41st consecutive year; tickets to that concert are available from Rotary by email or by calling 508-878-6577. The Saturday concert is sponsored by the Concord Band. Tickets at tables for 4 at $25 for adults and $15 for children under 12 are available through the Concord Band’s telephone line, 978-897-9969, email us at reservations@concordband.org, or online at MkTix.com. Free refreshments are provided.

Come celebrate spring at 51 Walden with the Concord Band!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spring Pops with Amanda Carr

Holiday Pops 2016 Poster

The Concord Band presents its annual Spring Pops Concert, featuring guest vocalist Amanda Carr on Saturday, April 9, 2016; 8:00 PM, at '51 Walden', The Performing Arts Center in Concord, MA.


Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children (under 12). Seating is at tables for 4.  A few tables for more than 4 will be available on the drama stage. This Saturday performance is sponsored by The Concord Band. (A performance on Friday, April 8 is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Concord.)
Visit MKtix.com to purchase tickets in advance.
By Mail
Send a check in the amount of $25 per ticket ($15 for children 12 and under), made out to “The Concord Band”, and mail to The Concord Band, PO Box 302, Concord, MA 01742.
By Phone
Call the Band's telephone line at 978-897-9969 and record your voice message.
By Email
Send email to Concord Band reservations.
If you place your reservations by phone, mail, or email, be sure to specify how many tickets, which night, and include your name, email address and phone number for confirmation. You must still mail a check in order to hold the seats. You may also include an SASE in order to receive your tickets before the night of the concert.  Unpaid tickets will be subject to re-sale at the door on the night of the concert.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Memoir: My Triumphant Two-Concert Tenure with the Boston Symphony Orchestra

Long ago (sometime in 1952), but not terribly far away (Springfield, MA), I began my life-long avocation as a percussionist. Around the age of 11 or 12, I fell in love with classical music. I credit this largely to my first music mentor, Lee Crabtree, Director of Music Education for the City of Springfield, and his wife Mary. They were also neighbors, and their kids became my best friends.

Many of my musician friends were members of the Western Massachusetts Young People’s Symphony Orchestra, and I let it be known that I wanted to do that, too. I wasn’t really ready, but Mr. Crabtree persuaded my second music mentor, Robert Staffanson (who, at age 94, has recently published his memoir, Witness to Spirit: My Life with Cowboys, Mozart & Indians), conductor of both the Springfield Symphony and the YPS Orchestra, to give me a shot, perhaps based on my enthusiasm. My experience with the Springfield YPS Orchestra was phenomenal. Playing under Mr. Staffanson was such a joy partly because he treated the kids like adults. It was there that I really began to learn what it meant to be a musician. Sometime before high school, an audition for some ensemble or other introduced me to my third youthful music mentor, Warren Myers, who was in his first few years as a percussionist with the Springfield Symphony and Band Director at the high school that I would eventually attend, in no small part because he was there.

Left to Right: Lee Crabtree, Director of Music Education, Springfield schools; Robert Staffanson, Music Director, Springfield Symphony Orchestra; Warren Myers, Percussionist, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and Band Director, Springfield Technical High School; Harry Ellis Dickson, Violinist, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Conductor of Boston Symphony Orchestra Children’s Concerts.
Warren Myers, I should mention, had an incredible snare drum roll. It was, as he was willing to acknowledge, as “smooth as silk”. He was also a phenomenal cymbal player. I had the opportunity to hear him play fairly regularly because during high school, my friend Lee Crabtree (son of my first mentor) and I became assistant stage managers for the Springfield Symphony. This meant in reality that we set up the Orchestra members’ chairs and stands for rehearsals. But we also got to be at those rehearsals. Warren would send me up to the first balcony to listen to him adjust his snare drum: “Too much snare? Too much head?” he would ask.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Review: Concord Band Winter Concert 2016

Review by Bruce Pasha

This was my first Concord Band concert in a long time and, based on last Saturday night’s offering, it won’t be the last. The true gem of the evening was marimba Guest Artist, Dr. Wei-Chen Lin.

The concert opened with The Redwoods by Rossano Galante. It was created to evoke the power and majesty of the redwood forests and indeed it did. Some of the music sounded like the score to a documentary film, and on the whole, it was pleasant to hear and enjoy memories of walking through the redwood forests of California.

Next up was a transcription of Tales from the Vienna Woods by Johann Strauss. Although it was very well played, this piece didn’t work for me as band music. It lacked the lightness and lilt of a string orchestra and sounded heavy and plodding instead of dancing at times.

The third piece was a wonderful collection of six English melodies arranged by Percy Grainger called Lincolnshire Posy. From the bouncy sea faring sounds of "Lisbon" to the energetic dance feel of "The Lost Lady Found," each movement told it’s story in a thoroughly enjoyable way.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Winter Concert 2016

Winter Concert

Saturday, March 7, 2016

The Concord Band


The RedwoodsRossano Galante
Tales from the Vienna WoodsJohann Strauss, Jr.; trans. T. Takahashi
Lincolnshire PosyPercy Aldridge Grainger; ed. F. Fennell
  1. Lisbon (Sailor's Song)
  2. Horkstow Grange (The Miser and his Man: A local Tragedy)
  3. Rufford Park Poachers (Poaching Song)
  4. The Brisk Young Sailor (who returned to wed his True Love)
  5. Lord Melbourne (War Song)
  6. The Lost Lady Found (Dance Song)
Selections from Into the WoodsStephen Sondheim; arr. S. Bulla


Variations on a Korean Folk SongJohn Barnes Chance
Concerto for Marimba & Wind EnsembleYiu-Kwong Chung
  1. Divertimento
  2. Passacaglia
  3. Burlesque
Wei-Chen Lin, Marimba Soloist
United States Premiere
Serenade for a Picket FenceNorman Leyden
Wei-Chen Lin, Marimba Soloist

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.

The Redwoods

Inspired by the beauty, power and majesty of the redwood, Rossano Galante’s The Redwoods begins with a heroic/romantic trumpet melody accompanied by woodwind arpeggios, punctuated by brass rhythms. After a transition, the opening melody is followed by the rich, lush main theme, which is stated in the horns and woodwinds. After the main theme has undergone variations in orchestration, a new section follows, with the upper woodwinds playing a second, delicate statement reminiscent of a music box. The new theme is heard once more but played in a heroic manner by the trumpets and trombones, in juxtaposition with the original “music box” statement. The main theme recapitulates and, as each theme returns, it is heard with a change of instrumentation and accompaniment. A brass fanfare takes one to the end of the piece, culminating in a grand climax. (Source: Published Score)

Tales from the Vienna Woods

Tales from the Vienna Woods was composed in 1868 by Johann Strauss, Jr., and pays tribute to the folk music and dance of those living in the forested highlands known as the Vienna Woods. The waltz begins with an unusually long introduction, followed by five distinctive waltzes, all featuring stylistic interpretations traditional of the period. Fluctuations in tempi, including rubato, accelerando, and ritardando, combine with the sweet, lilting melodies characteristic of this Viennese musical art form. (Source: JRO)

Lincolnshire Posy

Australian-born composer Percy Aldridge Grainger wrote Lincolnshire Posy based on folk tunes he gathered in Lincolnshire, England. In 1987 this monumental setting of six folksongs was edited and assembled by world-renowned maestro Frederick Fennell with detailed and precise markings and musical annotations. Grainger’s musical language was unique, not only in his fascinating orchestration and harmonization, but also in the specific instructions in his own vernacular. Each movement contains directives such as “clingingly” [tenuto], “lilt” [con spirito], “louden” [crescendo], and “quicken” [accelerando]. (Source: JRO)
“Percy Grainger described his six-movement Lincolnshire Posy as ‘a bunch of musical wildflowers’. He worked hard to preserve the originality of folk songs by recording and taking notes on individual performances which he sought out in their natural habitat among sailors, peasants, and other spontaneous performers. ‘Plenty of lilt’ is his requirement for playing Lisbon. Horkstow Grange, or ‘The Miser and His Man, a local Tragedy’, is formed with the accent shifting throughout, yet never losing its flowing style. Rufford Park Poachers is the most complex of the settings. Its lead is set by piccolo in high register, with solo clarinet in unison three octaves lower. The tune is accompanied by itself in canon, played by E-flat clarinet and bass clarinet. In sprightly contrast is The Brisk Young Sailor, with its effective woodwind writing. The final approach has some startling passages, marked to be played ‘angrily’. Lord Melbourne (War Song) is in free-time phrases written out without bar lines. The Lost Lady Found, the most conventional setting of all the movements in the suite, is written in a fast but sturdy one-in-a-bar.” —Eric Banks, quoted in A Source Guide to the Music of Percy Grainger by Thomas P. Lewis

Into the Woods

Selections from Into the Woods features four of the best-known songs penned by Stephen Sondheim from the Tony Award–winning musical based on fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault. Presented in this arrangement by Stephen Bulla are “Into the Woods,” “No One Is Alone,” “I Know Things Now,” and “Children Will Listen.” The 2014 film adaptation of the musical featured Meryl Streep (and others), and received multiple Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations. (Source: JRO)

Variations on a Korean Folk Song

The music of John Barnes Chance is a long-standing staple of original music for symphonic concert band, and his award-winning Variations on a Korean Folk Song is a favorite of both audiences and performers. Based on the Korean folk song “Arirang,” the beautifully stated pentatonic (five notes per octave) theme is first introduced by clarinets and scored in the resonant lower register. The work quickly progresses through six contrasting and exciting variations punctuated with prominent and driving percussion instruments and rhythms. (Source: JRO)

Concerto for Marimba and Wind Ensemble

Yiu-Kwong Chung is probably Taiwan’s best known and most often performed composer. Concerto for Marimba and Wind Ensemble consists of three contrasting movements. The first movement is a delightful, upbeat divertimento, occasionally reflecting Latin-American marimba playing. Using elements of Baroque music as its basis and its inspiration, the second movement is a passacaglia, ending with a challenging marimba cadenza, which is a three-part fugue based on the passacaglia’s main theme. The third movement is a propulsive and energetic burlesque. (Source: Published Score)

Serenade for a Picket Fence

Norman Leyden’s Serenade for a Picket Fence for xylophone is a lively and somewhat tongue-in-cheek novelty piece consisting of back-and-forth conversations between the soloist and band, including a stylistic “soft shoe” section. (Source: JRO)