Thursday, January 10, 2019

60th Anniversary Gala Concert

Photo: Winston Martin
The Concord Band will celebrate its 60th anniversary at a gala concert at 8:00 pm on March 2, 2019 at 51 Walden Street in Concord, led by Music Director James O'Dell. The Band has commissioned two new pieces for band that will be presented in their world premier performances, conducted by the composers themselves. Music Director Emeritus William McManus will also conduct.

The concert is free with donations appreciated, but because of the anticipated interest in the concert, all tickets must be reserved in advance at At this time, only about 100 tickets are available, so those who would like to attend this concert should make their requests as soon as possible.

Andrew Boysen of the University of New Hampshire has been commissioned to write a piece he has titled Diamond Jubilee Suite. The three movements are intended to represent the character and musical impact of the three music directors of the Concord Band: the late Music Director Laureate, William Toland, Music Director Emeritus McManus, and current Music Director James O’Dell.

Roger Cichy, who composed a piece for the Band’s 50th anniversary season, returns with a commissioned fanfare entitled Emblazoned Joy.

Other works on the celebration program include Alfred Reed’s A Festival Prelude, conducted by William McManus; and Five Concord Diversions, by James Curnow, commissioned for William Toland’s 25th anniversary with the Band, featuring a Concord Band brass quintet. The concert will close with Toland’s arrangement of Auld Lang Syne, during which Concord Band alumni in the audience will be invited to join in the performance.

Formed in 1959 as a marching band for the Patriots’ Day parade, the Concord Band became exclusively a symphonic concert band in 1970. The Band has commissioned or inspired more than 80 works for symphonic band.

 The Concord Band is supported by grants from the Town of Concord and Town of Bolton Cultural Councils, and the March 2 concert is sponsored in part by Middlesex Savings Bank. More information about the Band and the March 2 concert can be found at the Band’s Facebook page and website The Band is an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that gladly accepts any donations to help fund the costs of the 60th anniversary season on the website or at

Friday, January 4, 2019

Remembering Alfred Reed

Dr. William G. McManus
Music Director Emeritus
By Dr. William G. McManus

Bill McManus was the second Music Director of the Concord Band, serving in that position from 1995 to 2009. Upon his retirement from the Band, he was named Music Director Emeritus. Dr. McManus has been an extremely successful and much revered musician and music educator.

Alfred Reed’s music has been a part of The Concord Band’s long legacy of performing outstanding classics of the concert band repertoire. It will be my honor to conduct Alfred Reed’s A Festival Prelude at The Concord Band’s Winter Concert on March 2, 2019, in celebration of the band’s 60th Anniversary Season. Dr. Alfred Reed is generally recognized as one of the most important composers of music for concert band and wind ensemble of the 20th Century. He published more than 250 compositions for band, orchestra, chorus, and chamber groups and is perhaps best know for composing many works that have become classics of the concert band repertoire. His compositions have been performed throughout the world.

Over the years, The Concord Band has performed many of Alfred Reed’s original compositions for concert band, including such classics as A Jubilant Overture (performed in 1970), A Festival Prelude (1984), A Symphonic Prelude (1984), Second Symphony (1979), Armenian Dances, Part 1 (1995), Russian Christmas Music (1995), El Camino Real (1997), and Hounds of Spring (2004). The Concord Band has also performed many of Reed’s great arrangements, including The Music Man (1974), Greensleeves (1978), Radetzky March (1998), and Finiculi, Finicula (1998). Alto saxophonists from The Concord Band, including the late Dr. Gerald Kriedberg, were frequently featured performing Reed’s great arrangement of Harlem Nocturne. One of Reed’s very last compositions for concert band was Music in the Air, which was played by The Concord Band at the 2006 Winter Concert in Alfred Reed’s memory.

Alfred Reed
I first met Alfred Reed in 1987 when he came to Boston to present a clinic of his music at a conference of the Eastern Division of the Music Educators National Conference (MENC). The College of New Jersey Wind Ensemble was participating in the clinic with Dr. Reed and would be performing a number of Reed’s compositions in the clinic. Prior to the conference, Dr. William Silvester, the Director of The College of New Jersey Wind Ensemble, contacted me and asked me if his wind ensemble could use the Belmont High School auditorium for a rehearsal with Dr. Reed the day before the conference in order to prepare for the clinic. I was delighted to accommodate this request and was able to have all of my Belmont High Band members excused from classes for the morning so that they could attend the rehearsal and meet Alfred Reed. This was especially timely since my band was currently learning one of Alfred’s pieces—Armenian Dances. What an experience this was for my students! Especially since Armenian Dances was one of the pieces that Alfred Reed was featuring in his clinic at the conference in Boston. My students were able to watch Alfred rehearse this piece with this wonderful wind ensemble.

Armenian Dances is an extremely challenging and exciting piece for concert band and one of my all-time favorite pieces for symphonic band. I rehearsed this piece with The Concord Band as part of my audition for the directorship of the band and then included Armenian Dances in my very first concert with The Concord Band at 51 Walden in the fall of 1995.

While it was an honor for me to meet Alfred Reed, it was also an honor for me to meet Dr. William Silvester, the conductor of The College of New Jersey Wind Ensemble. This music group was one of the premiere college wind ensembles in the country. Dr. Silvester was also the conductor of The Eastern Wind Symphony, an adult symphonic band based in Trenton, New Jersey. Dr. Silvester and I became great friends and colleagues. We were honored to have Dr. Silvester as guest conductor of the Concord Band at the 2003 Winter Concert. I knew that Dr. Bill Silvester and Alfred Reed were very close friends, and in 2004 I asked Bill if he thought Alfred might consider a commission by The Concord Band. He suggested that I ask him myself and told me that Alfred would be visiting New Jersey to attend a recording session of his music by The Eastern Wind Symphony. I traveled to New Jersey and was able to enjoy a wonderful evening with Alfred and Bill. It was over dinner that Alfred leaned over to me and said, “I hear that you want me to compose a piece for The Concord Band.” He told me he would love to compose an original composition for the Band and we began a correspondence regarding the commission. Unfortunately, Alfred died in 2005 without having completed the composition. The day after his death I received the following email from his family:
Alfred Reed passed away yesterday afternoon, 17 September. His gift to the world is a body of music that will continue to thrill, charm and delight audiences in virtually every country of the world, as it has done for the last fifty years. His gift to those of us blessed to have known him was a kind and generous spirit that is all too rare.