Thursday, May 9, 2019

Boston Festival of Bands

Concord Band Performing in 2016 at historic Faneuil Hall for the Boston Festival of Bands.
The Concord Band, New England's premiere recipient of the Sudler Silver Scroll Award, will perform at 31st annual Boston Festival of Bands. The festival, hosted by The Metropolitan Wind Symphony—MetWinds, will be held at Faneuil Hall, adjacent to Quincy Market in Boston, on Saturday, June 8, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Admission is free to the public.

Spend the second Saturday in June downtown shopping, eating, enjoying the city, and listening to some of the area's finest wind ensembles. Enjoy the many talented bands performing throughout the day in the heart of Faneuil Hall near Boston Harbor. There will be music to please all tastes. The bands will perform selections ranging from Broadway show music to Sousa marches to classical.

Program of participating bands

Time Band Town Conductor
11amSharon Concert BandSharon, MA Mr. Steve Bell
12pmConcord BandConcord, MAMr. James O’Dell
1pmMetWindsBoston, MAMr. Lewis Buckley
2pmPlainville Wind EnsemblePlainville, CTMr. Ken Bagley
3pmAmerican BandProvidence, RIDr. Brian Cardany
4pmMiddlesex Concert BandWakefield, MAMr. Mark Olson
5pmCasco Bay Wind SymphonyGorham, MEMr. Peter Martin

The Concord Band and MetWinds are funded in part by
the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Community Band with a Professional Attitude

by Daniel S. Diamond, PhD

In 1994, when the Concord Band began to search for the successor to William M. Toland, who was planning to retire after 32 years as the Band's first Music Director, I proposed that we adopt as our motto The Community Band with a Professional Attitude to distinguish ourselves from most other community bands.

We are not a professional band. The majority of our members do not support themselves from income earned playing their instruments. Furthermore, Concord Band members are volunteers; the only paid members of the Band are our Music Director and Assistant Conductor.

So what does it mean for the nonprofessional Concord Band to have a professional attitude? It means that we make a significant effort to do everything both musically and in support of our musical product-as well as we can, subject to our natural skills, training, the amount of personal time available and the Band's resources. In a past Notes from the Concord Band newsletter, I wrote that in the area of marketing, the Concord Band really has to do most everything that the Boston Symphony Orchestra does, but only with volunteers and substantially less budget.

William M. Toland
Music Director Laureate
Over time, any community-based music performance organization will seek to improve itself through more innovative programming and performances of increasing quality. These will attract larger audiences and more skilled members. These, in turn, will make it possible for the ensemble to tackle more difficult works. Each of the Concord Band's three Music Directors has had his own approach.

William M. Toland, named Music Director Laureate shortly after his death, focused on what he considered to be good music, but avoided music that he thought was too demanding. He initiated the important practice of bringing in high caliber guest conductors, adding an important dimension to the education and experience of our members.

Working with a new or guest conductor is a very special experience, particularly for amateur musicians. Each conductor has his or her own unique characteristics, both in rehearsing a piece of music and in communicating information about it during a performance. Guest conductors tend to elevate almost everything in a player: One's attention level is elevated significantly. Preparation for rehearsals and performances with a guest conductor is noticeably more intense than usual. All of this inevitably leads to an improved performance level, which one hopes will carry forward.
Dr. William G. McManus
Music Director Emeritus

Concord Band guest conductors have included Frederick Fennell, William Revelli, Arnald Gabriel, Leonard B. Smith, John Corley, Willis Traphagan, Peter Hazzard, Lee Chrisman, James Curnow, Steven Grimo, Thomas G. Everett, Alfred Dentino, Christopher Morehouse, Paul Berler, William H. Silvester, Malcolm W. Rowell, Steven Barbas, Elliot Del Borgo and Keith Brion.

Music Director Emeritus, Dr. William G. McManus, was willing to have the Band take on challenging works, which depended on members' polishing their parts at home and he planned for extra rehearsal time before presenting such works in concert.

James O'Dell
Music Director
Current Music Director, James O'Dell, assumes that the Concord Band can handle pretty much anything, but in his first decade, at least, he has avoided works that would require so much personal practice and rehearsal time that it would detract from other pieces on a program.

What has been the result of the efforts of our three Music Directors and our membership, in which there is very little turnover? In 2013, the Concord Band received the Sudler Silver Scroll from the John Philip Sousa Foundation. This award, "North America's most prestigious award for community concert bands, recognizes community concert bands of outstanding musical excellence." The Concord Band was the first community band in New England to receive the Sudler Silver Scroll.

The first five pieces written for the Concord Band were all gifts. In 1974, the Town of Concord Bicentennial Celebration Committee provided small sums to the Concord Band, Orchestra and Players to have works written on the occasion of the Bicentennial. Concord Band Music Director William M. Toland approached internationally recognized composer Norman Delio Joio, who proposed re-scoring his own piano composition, Satiric Dances for a Comedy by Aristophanes, for wind ensemble. This first commission of the Concord Band has been extremely successful. It has been performed all over the world by concert bands from high school to professional military bands.

The Concord Band's outstanding contributions to concert band repertoire.
Since 1967 the Concord Band has either commissioned, or received as gifts, 83 new compositions and arrangements for symphonic wind ensemble—possibly more than any other community band in the world.

Additional composers of works for the Concord Band have included Peter Hazzard, Richard Cornell, Robert Sirota, John Bavicchi, Douglas Toland, Kurt Phinney, Warren Barker, John Higgins, James Curnow, Thomas J. McGah, Dan Lutz, Stephen Bulla, William Gordon, Lewis Buckley, Julie Giroux, Elliot Del Borgo, Jerry Seeco, Roger Cichy, Andrew Boysen, Jr., Rene Pfister et al, Jerry Vabulas, William M. Toland, and Dr. William G. McManus.

Dan Diamond is the senior member of the Concord Band, having joined the Band as a percussionist in January, 1970, and is now in his 50th year. He has been a member of its Board of Trustees for most of his time in the Band. In 2009, he received the Band's Lifetime Service Award.