Friday, December 11, 2020

Holiday Pops Virtual Concert

Originally presented December 10 & 11, 2010

The Performing Arts Center at 51 Walden
James O'Dell, Music Director
Steven Barbas, Assistant Conductor
Renee Pfister, Guest Artist

A Concord Tradition Since 1976!

Normally at this time of year, the Concord Band would be presenting our annual Holiday Pops concert. We hope by this time next year we will all be together again performing Holiday Pops 2021 live and in person. In the meantime, please enjoy these videos from Holiday Pops 2010, featuring vocalist Renee Pfister. Link to: Program for this concert.

Overture to a Winter Festival
James Curnow
Polish Christmas Music
Johan de Meij
Christmas Day
Gustav Holst, arr. William Rhoads
Steven Barbas, conducting
Dixieland Jam! 
arr. Bob Lowden
I Feel a Song Comin' On
McHugh, Fields & Oppenheimer, arr. Barker
Renee Pfister, vocalist
One Note Samba
Antonio Carlos Jobim, arr. Seeco
Renee Pfister, vocalist
Judy Piermarini, saxophone
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Martin & Blane, arr. Wagner
Renee Pfister, vocalist
Angels from the Realms of Glory
James Montgomery, arr. Robert W. Smith
Festive Sounds of Hanukah
arr. Bill Holcombe
Let's All Sing for Christmas (Santa Stroll)
arr. James D. Ployhar
A Christmas Portrait
arr. Jerry Nowak
Sing Along with Renee Pfister, vocalist
Sleigh Ride
Leroy Anderson
Auld Lang Syne
arr. William M. Toland
Sing Along with Renee Pfister, vocalist

Monday, December 7, 2020

Roger Cichy Composes The Diamond Baton

Dan Diamond
The Concord Band would like to announce a special project the Band has been doing to help keep its spirits (and lips) up and that will provide a lasting memento of The Concord Band. At our December 2019 Holiday Pops, the Band board announced plans to commission a new march in honor of its longest serving member, Dan Diamond, which was to be premiered at the April Pops 2020 concert. Roger Cichy, who has composed two pieces for The Concord Band in the past 10 years, provided The Diamond Baton for the Band’s March 9 rehearsal, just before the pandemic shutdown changed all our plans. Since we were unable to rehearse together as a large ensemble, we had to explore other creative options to perform this piece virtually. See and hear more about The Diamond Baton later in this newsletter. We look forward to playing it live for our summer audiences or whenever we can resume performances again.

Richard Given and Roger Cichy
during recording sessions.
Roger Cichy wrote The Diamond Baton in recognition of Dan Diamond’s 50 years of service to The Concord Band. In addition to being the percussion section leader, Dan has been a board member for more than 45 years, headed fundraising, managed the newsletter, and countless other voluntary contributions to The Concord Band. Roger regretted that the march had only one rehearsal and was never able to be performed. As fall 2020 approached, Roger reached out to Jim O’Dell and volunteered to bring his professional recording equipment to Concord to record each interested player. Using a computer-generated “click-track” recording of the march, 40 Concord Band members learned their parts and one at a time came to 51 Walden to play The Diamond Baton for a socially-distanced Roger Cichy. An additional 7 players made their own recordings which they provided to Cichy. Roger combined and edited the individual recordings into the premiere recording of The Diamond Baton. Roger Cichy and Jim O’Dell did the final editing in Roger’s Scituate, Rhode Island studio.

The resulting audio premiere of The Diamond Baton is at this link:

Jim O'Dell and Roger Cichy
crafting the final mix.
Plans to overlay video are in progress and will be available in a future newsletter. The Concord Band is eternally grateful to Roger for his yeoman efforts and thrilled to honor their fellow bandsman Dan Diamond.

The Diamond Baton recording project at 51 Walden was extraordinary because it was the first time many of the Concord Band members experienced playing their part accompanied by a digital audio click track. Musicians typically spend the majority of their time in ensembles listening and adjusting to others, watching and receiving instructions from the conductor, marking the music, tuning and balancing across all instruments, and a multitude of other tasks including those that engage the ears, eyes, breath, and fingers. The challenge of playing a part "solo" in absence of many of the skills mentioned above is very foreign to most musicians, but the Concord Band musicians embraced the challenge with flying colors. Our final mix of the project truly trumpets (pun intended) our members' courage and commitment to bring a premiere of this new composition to fruition during uncertain times. Congratulations to all in making The Diamond Baton come to life!

Monday, July 13, 2020

"Festival de Música Española" Concert Videos

Festival de Música Española
Saturday, March 7, 2020
The Concord Band
James O’Dell, Music Director
Area 9 Saxophone Quartet, Guest Artists

El RelicarioJosé Padilla
Carmen SuiteGeorges Bizet;
arr. Guiraud, trans. Buckley
Volver a la MontañaShelly Hanson
La Mezquita de CórdobaJulie Giroux
Amparito RocaJaime Texidor; arr. Winter
Fantasia LatinaTerry White
Saxophone Quartet: FandangoAldemaro Romero
Saxophone Quartet: Choro y TangoAldemaro Romero
La Bamba de Vera CruzTerig Tucci; arr. Hunsberger

One of the Band's long-term projects is to create a comprehensive video archive of concert band literature. The archive documents our performances, helps us to improve musically, and provides a valuable online resource for band programming. You can explore performance videos hosted on our YouTube channel, ConcordBandMA.

The Performance Video Database concept has been created and led by percussionist and executive producer Dan Diamond, and video director Barry Mirrer, with generous technical assistance and resources provided by Concord-Carlisle TV. See feature articles: Performance Video DatabaseVideo Production.

For this program, can play videos on this page or view program notes.

The complete Concord Band Performance Video Database is accessible through the Video Log tab at the top of each blog page.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Fantasia Latina Video

To provide you with a preview of forthcoming videos, here is the premiere of Terry White's Fantasia Latina, performed at our Winter Concert, Festival de Música Española, on March 7.

Fantasia Latina was commissioned by Band member Neil Tischler in celebration of his 48 years with the Concord Band. The composition is based on four Latin dance styles: tango, danzon, songo and samba. The extended introduction is intended to introduce idiomatic rhythms and motives that are common to the various styles, such as montuno and 2-3 clave. Unexpected rhythmic and harmonic twists are introduced into each style, intended to keep the performer and listener from settling into a “groove.” For example, there might be an extra measure in a phrase or a very brief harmonic modulation in harmony.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Concord Band Brass Quintet Goes Virtual

Concord Band Virtual Brass Quintet

In mid-April, a few weeks after The Concord Band had been forced to suspend rehearsals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, trumpeter Cindy Blanchard began looking around for musicians to play with virtually. She recruited brass players from the Band, and soon a virtual brass quintet was formed. Rich Given joined Cindy on trumpet, Cam Owen on horn, Peter Norton on trombone, and Chi-Sun Chan on tuba.

The group chose Die Bänkelsängerlieder, a classic in brass quintet literature by an anonymous 17th century itinerant musician (a bänkelsänger or "bench singer"). Ken Troup, President of the Band, helped connect the quintet with Bryce Denney (former Band member and husband of Band horn player Kathryn Troup Denney), who provided the technical expertise needed make the separate recordings and combine them into one performance.

Bryce coached the group on how to prepare their individual recordings, and Rich and Sun provided practice tracks to get everyone playing at the same tempo and in the same style. After some test runs, Bryce combined and edited the audio and video to create the final version. This is a time-consuming process, and the quintet would like to thank Bryce for his time, dedication, and expertise! The Concord Band would like to thank them all for a splendid gift.

If you enjoy the quintet and the Concord Band, consider making a donation to the Band to keep it going during these uncertain times.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Festival de Música Española Audio Recordings

Winter 2020 Concert Poster
Winter Concert 2020 Poster

El RelicarioJosé Padilla
Carmen SuiteGeorges Bizet; trans. Buckley
1. Les Toréadors
2. Habanera
4. Nocturne
5. Danse Bohéme
Volver a la MontañaShelley Hanson
La Mezquita de CórdobaJulie Giroux
Amparito RocaJamie Texidor;
arr. Winter
Fantasia LatinaTerry White
Saxophone QuartetAldemaro Romero
Choro y Tango
La Bamba de Vera CruzTerig Tucci;
arr. Hunsberger

Friday, May 1, 2020

How to Donate to the Concord Band

QR code links to
PayPal Donate Page
The Concord Band is a volunteer group of musicians with a professional music director. We pay rent for our home at 51 Walden Performing Arts Center. We are fortunate to have been awarded small Cultural Council grants to support our summer program at Fruitlands Museum in Harvard. We would like to continue to bring you the best in symphonic wind band music and soloists for our Pops concerts. But less than half of the Band's ongoing operating expenses are covered by event income; the remainder is funded by donors like you.
The Concord Band is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and now we’ve made it easier than ever to donate. You can use your cell phone to scan a QR code for mobile donations; you can visit our websites at or and use the Donate button to donate securely via PayPal, credit or debit card; or, you can mail a check to The Concord Band, PO Box 302, Concord, MA 01742. And of course we welcome employer matching contributions!

Friday, April 17, 2020

Newsletter Going Paperless

Within the coming year or so, the Concord Band plans to move our Notes newsletter into the digital age. News articles are now being posted on and soon we will have an email version, too.

However, we have email addresses for only about a third of our mailing list. If you receive our newsletter by mail, please provide your email address so that we can continue to inform you about Concord Band happenings.

You can provide your email address two ways:
Thanks to our many subscribers who have enjoyed Notes over the years! You can always find back issues of Notes on our newsletter page.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Review: Festival de Música de Española

by Patti Lake

As a fellow musician it is not often that I get to just sit back and enjoy a concert. Most often you can find me in the horn section of the ensemble, forgoing the opportunity to just sit back and let the music take me to another place. I had the privilege of attending the Concord Band concert on March 7th and I was quite excited. It is not often that this girl of Spanish heritage has an opportunity to listen to Spanish music.

The concert opened with a rousing rendition of El Relicaro by José Padilla. With a tight low brass section and soaring trumpet solo I was taken back to the bullfight I remember attending as a young girl. True to form, this paso dobles set the tone for what was to come.

It is always a treat to hear an arrangement by the esteemed Lew Buckley. Buckley’s transcription of Bizet’s Carmen Suite was quite true to the orchestral score and the Concord Band’s presentation did not disappoint. Again, the trumpet soloist delivered a true taste of Spain while the horns played beautifully at both the beginning and end of the Nocturne.

Volver a la Montaña by Shelly Hanson perfectly captured the haunting melodies of the Quechuan people of Ecuador. The mournful cries of the flutes emulated the pan flutes while the harp added just the right timbre to the ensemble. Throughout the piece there were many glimpses of the majesty of the Andes mountains and the true essence of Quechuan music.

In Julie Giroux’s La Mesquite de Córdoba, one was truly able to imagine the destruction of the church and its subsequent rise to celebration. The ensemble effortlessly tossed the musical figures from section to section and held the listeners attention until the final celebratory note.

Composer Terry White, percussionist Neil Tischler,
and Music Director James O'Dell.
A favorite of mine since the first time I played it, Amparito Roca by Jaime Texidor was again reminiscent of the toreador parading around the bull fighting ring. O’Dell’s explanation of the authentic tempo was delightful and helped to make this “John Phillip Sousa March” of the bull fighting world come to life.

The world premiere of Fantasia Latina, commissioned by Neil Tischler and written by Terry White, was a big band meets traditional Latin dance surprise. The clever transitions and weaving of melodies made one want to get up and dance. The intricacies of the percussion lines were enjoyable, and the clean lines and soaring melodies were well executed by the band.

Area 9 Quartet
The Area 9 Quartet was simply fantastic! From the opening notes of Romero’s Fandango, to the brilliant runs of the Choro Y Tango, the skilled and exceptional musicianship of John Rabinowitz, Kangyi Lui, Sean Mix, and Seychelles Dunn-Corbin was on display. The full, lush, solid sound of the ensemble and the technical prowess of each player complimented the other as each movement provided opportunity for the soloists to shine. The Area 9 Quartet is completely amazing!

The evening ended with La Bamba de Vera Cruz by Terig Tucci. This piece was a fun and perfect ending to a delightful evening of Latin music. ¡Qué Bueno, Concord Band!  ¡Qué Bueno!

Patricia Lake is a Children’s Pastor in Central MA as well as a free-lance horn player in the greater Boston Area. She maintains an active horn studio and, when she isn’t in her pastoral role, she teaches children’s musical theatre and improv.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Winter Concert

Festival de Música Española
Saturday, March 7, 2020 • 8:00 PM
The Concord Band

– Program –
El RelicarioJosé Padilla
Carmen SuiteGeorges Bizet;
arr. Guiraud, trans. Buckley
  1. Les Toréadors
  2. Habanera
  3. Nocturne
  4. Danse Bohème
Volver a la MontañaShelly Hanson
La Mezquita de CórdobaJulie Giroux
· Intermission ·
Amparito RocaJaime Texidor;
arr. Winter
Fantasia LatinaTerry White
World Premiere commissioned by Neil Tischler
Saxophone QuartetAldemaro Romero
  • Fandango
  • Choro y Tango
Area 9 Saxophone Quartet, Guest Artists
La Bamba de Vera CruzTerig Tucci;
arr. Hunsberger

This program is supported in part by grants from the Harvard and Bolton Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

El Relicario

El Relicario by José Padilla is one of the most famous and best loved paso dobles in the band literature. This Spanish march is traditionally performed at bullfights as the participants enter the arena. This setting retains all of the delightful rhythms and enchanting melodies of the original. Its Latin flavor is full of colorful Spanish flourish. (Source: Program Note from Indian Springs Middle School Band concert program, 12 February 2016)

Carmen Suite

The music of French composer, Georges Bizet, was largely panned during his lifetime. Carmen was no different, receiving scathing reviews after its premiere. On June 3, 1875, just three months later and after 33 performances of Carmen, Bizet died. At his funeral, the organist improvised a fantasy of the themes from Carmen. In his eulogy, the contemporary French composer, Charles Gounod, stated “Bizet had been struck down just as he was becoming recognized as a true artist.” Lewis Buckley transcribed Carmen Suite selecting movements from the two suites. (Source: Greg Depp, MetWinds)

Volver a la Montaña

Volver a la Montaña (Return to the Mountain) by Shelly Hanson is the second movement of a four-movement suite and is based on several folk tunes of the Quechua (“Inca”) people of Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Near the end of the movement, the folk song Separación (Separation) is quoted briefly. The words are “My mother told me not to cry, though I'm leaving the mountains forever.” Over the past century, many of the Quechua people have had to leave their villages forever because of the economic difficulty of maintaining their traditional mountain lifestyle. (Source: published score)

La Mezquita de Córdoba

In 169 B.C. the Romans founded Córdoba. After the fall of Rome, it became the capital of Al Andalus, Muslim Spain, in 716. The Moors conquered Córdoba in the eighth century and by the tenth century the city boasted a population of 500,000. Reigning with wisdom and justice, the rulers of Córdoba treated Christians and Jews with tolerance. They also improved trade and agriculture, patronized the arts, made valuable contributions to science, and established Córdoba as the most sophisticated city in Europe. La Mezquita de Córdoba by Julie Giroux opens with the destruction of the original Christian church in 716 A.D. and proceeds as a musical celebration of its multicultural, religious and artistic accomplishments. (Source: published score)

Amparito Roca

Jaime Texidor Dalmau (1884-1957) was an important Spanish composer of paso dobles, the bullfighting-inspired march style most closely associated with Spain. He was also the director of the municipal band of Barakaldo for almost 30 years. Amparito Roca (1925) is his most famous composition. (Source: Andy Pease)

Fantasia Latina

Fantasia Latina was commissioned by Band member Neil Tischler in celebration of his 48 years with the Concord Band, and is based on four Latin dance styles: Tango, Danzon, Songo and Samba. The extended introduction is intended to introduce idiomatic rhythms and motives that are common to the various styles such as montuno and 2-3 clave, etc. In each style there are unexpected rhythmic and harmonic twists intended to keep the performer and listener from settling into a “groove.” For example, there might be an extra measure in a phrase or a very brief harmonic modulation in harmony. (Source: Terry White)

Saxophone Quartet

Venezuelan-born Aldemaro Romero is credited with creating a new musical genre, the “Ondo Nuevo,” a combination of Venezuelan fandango and Brazilian bossa nova. In his Saxophone Quartet, the exuberant Fandango movement features kaleidoscopic harmonies over a driving rhythmic pulse, while in the joyous and virtuosic Choro Y Tango, each horn gets a chance to shine. (Source: John Rabinowitz)

La Bamba De Vera Cruz

A traditional huapango song, La Bamba De Vera Cruz by Terig Tucci is often played during weddings in Veracruz, where the bride and groom perform the accompanying dance. The dance is performed displaying the newlywed couple’s unity through their execution of complicated, delicate steps in unison, as well as the couple using only their feet to create a bow with a listón, a long red ribbon. (Source: David Cross for the Austin Symphonic Band)

Sunday, March 1, 2020

World Premiere Inspired by Latin Dance

The Concord Band continues its 61st season with its Winter Concert entitled “Festival de Música Española.” The concert, on Saturday March 7, 2020 at 8:00 pm, will feature the world premiere of Fantasia Latina by Terry White, a new work commissioned by Concord Band percussionist Neil Tischler. The concert will be held at the Performing Arts Center at 51 Walden Street, Concord, MA. The concert is free, with donations gratefully accepted.

The new composition by composer Terry White is based on four Latin dance styles: Tango, Danzon, Songo and Samba. The piece has rhythms and motives that are common to the four dance styles, with unexpected rhythmic and harmonic twists that will keep Neil and his fellow percussionists busy. Neil sponsored the piece, his second commission for the Concord Band, in celebration of his 48 years with the Concord Band. Terry White has been a music educator and band leader in the Portland, Maine, area for over 34 years, and is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and the University of New Hampshire.

In keeping with the theme of the Winter Concert, Music Director James O’Dell has chosen  music from southern Spain, Andalusia, Peru, and Argentina, as well as Brazil. The program will include four movements from Georges Bizet’s famous opera Carmen, Julie Giroux’s Mezquita de Córdoba, Volver a la Montaña (Return to the Mountain) from a suite by Shelly Hanson based on Inca folk songs, La Bamba de Vera Cruz, and several familiar Spanish marches. The Concord Band also welcomes guest artists the Area 9 Quartet, a Boston-based saxophone quartet that includes two Concord Band saxophone players, John Rabinowitz and Kangyi Liu. Area 9 will play the Fandango and Choro y Tango movements from Aldemaro Romero’s Saxophone Quartet.

The Band is an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, that gladly accepts any donations through on-line links at the Concord Band website ( or blog (, where you can also find more information about the 2013 Sudler Silver Scroll-winning Concord Band. The Concord Band is also supported by grants from Harvard and Bolton Cultural Councils, agencies of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Spotlight: Area 9 Quartet

Area 9 Quartet
guest ensemble
The Area 9 Quartet is a Boston-based ensemble dedicated to exploring the rich, diverse and ever growing chamber music repertoire for saxophone. Recent performances have included works by Bach, Debussy, Glazunov and Vaughan Williams, as well as compositions by Sidney Bechet, Paul McCartney, Freddie Mercury and Herbie Hancock. Area 9 is also proud to have commissioned and debuted new works by contemporary composers, including Jun Feng’s “Somehow, Tango”, performed at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA in 2015, and Michael Kosch’s “Castle in the Air”, which Area 9 premiered at the Metropolitan Playhouse in NYC in December of 2016. For more information about upcoming performances, Area 9 invites you to visit its Facebook page, Area 9 Quartet.

Sean Mix (soprano saxophone) is active as a saxophonist and music educator in Boston, Massachusetts. He has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, including appearances at Jordan Hall (Boston), MACM Hall (Bangkok), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), The Stone (New York City), and the United States Military Academy (West Point, NY). He has been featured as soloist with the NEC Bach Ensemble, Boston Turkish Film and Music Festival, and at conferences of the North American Saxophone Alliance. Sean is pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Boston University. He also holds degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music (MM, GD) and the University of Southern California (BM). His teachers have included Kenneth Radnofsky, James Rötter, Tom Bergeron, and Scott Hall. Sean is a member of the music faculty at the Wellesley Public Schools, where he enjoys working with young saxophone and clarinet students.

Area 9 Quartet (l. to r.): Sean Mix (soprano), Seychelle Dunn (alto),
John Rabinowitz (tenor), Kangyi Liu (baritone)
Seychelle Dunn (alto saxophone) is a saxophonist and pianist known for her inclusion of African American artistry in education and performance. Prior to her work in the Greater Boston area, Seychelle worked in education for the Baltimore Public School system and is an alumni member of Morgan State University; a Historical Black College that prides itself on incorporating African American culture through the daily collegiate experience. While attending MSU, Seychelle studied with accomplished composers Dr. James Lee III and Dr. Nkeiru Okoye, as well as, jazz saxophonist Tim Green and pianist Dr. Stephanie Bruning. Upon completing her studies and earning both a B.A. & M.A. degree in music, Seychelle furthered her education at Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, Ma earning her graduate performance diploma while studying with classical saxophonist Kenneth Radnofsky; in the fall she will continue her studies as a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate in woodwind performance. Currently Seychelle performs with her saxophone quartet, as well as various chamber music settings; in addition to serving as piano faculty at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and as a freelance teaching artist. She is also highly involved with the surrounding community having served as board member of the Ashmont Hill Chamber Music Society and currently as the Director of Educational Programming with Castle of our skins; an organization that promotes and celebrates black artistry.

John Rabinowitz (tenor saxophone) studied classical piano and music theory at the Longy School before taking up his saxophone studies at The New England Conservatory with Ken Radnofsky. He has performed in a variety of musical settings in greater Boston, including with the jazz groups Prezzi Bomba and Zox Populi, as well as with Les Messengers de la Nouvelle Alliance, an Haitian reggae-gospel band. When not playing music, John reads Shakespeare aloud with inebriated friends, shops obsessively for the perfect side table on Wayfair, and squanders an enormous amount of time perusing football message boards. He is a contented resident of Arlington, MA, though a part of him will always pine for the fjords of northern New Jersey where he grew up.

Kangyi Liu (baritone saxophone) is native of the southern inland city Changsha in China, born into a family of art and literature, where he started playing saxophone in his childhood. At age 15, he was enrolled at the Central Conservatory of Music High School in Beijing as the first saxophone student where he studied with the principle saxophonist of China Youth Wind Symphony. Before coming to the United States, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Conservatory of Music, where he was also awarded during his undergraduate study the “National Scholarship” and “National Determined Scholarship” by the Ministry of Education of P. R. China. He was an instructor at Beijing YAMAHA Music Center, and he taught with the China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe, an organization for UNESCO Artists for Peace. In 2010, Kangyi continued his education at Longy School of Music with saxophonist Ken Radnofsky. Currently Kangyi is pursuing his Doctoral degree at Boston University in addition to teaching saxophone in the North Andover Public schools.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Neil Tischler Sponsors New Commission

Neil Tischler
Terry White’s Fantasia Latina has been commissioned by Concord Band percussionist Neil Tischler “in celebration of his 48 years with the Concord Band.” Neil wanted to note this milestone with a second commissioned piece that would be published and available to symphonic wind ensembles and bands worldwide. Neil’s first commission for the Band was Dixieland Live! by Lewis Buckley in 2001.

Neil joined the Concord Band at the beginning of the 1972 season after moving to Acton MA from upstate New York. Although he joined his high school band in eighth grade as a percussionist and played throughout high school, Neil had little opportunity to play music while in college and the beginning of his engineering career. So he was very happy to discover the Concord Band and to be able to play with a large ensemble once again.

As a mechanical engineer specializing in product design for 36 years, Neil helped design several medical devices. One was a circulatory support system that provided temporary support for one or both sides of the natural human heart in circumstances where the heart had failed. Best of all, as the last project of his career, he helped create the Solea Dental Laser that is changing the way dentistry is performed; the Solea eliminates the needle and the air drill and thus has the potential to positively affect people’s lives throughout the world.

For our percussion section, Neil has built numerous items that make it easier for the section to play band pieces. These include his unique rolling cymbal stand and modified temple block holder. Neil also constructed a stage support for our grand piano and custom risers for band members. For many years, he’s been the primary drum set player for Dixieland and other jazz or pop numbers. Neil is also well known for his nature photography and has been a longtime provider of outstanding prints of birds and flowers for the Band’s annual raffle. He and his wife Regina continue to live in Acton. The Concord Band is grateful to Neil for his life-long contributions to the Band and to wind band literature.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Composer Terry White

Terry White
composer and guest conductor
Terry White has been a music educator, composer, arranger and band leader in the Portland, Maine area for over 34 years. Terry is a 1975 graduate of Berklee College of Music with a B.M. in Composition, a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a M.S. in Music Education and has studied composition with John Bavicchi, Hugo Norden and Herb Pomeroy. Terry is has written for many idioms including the Portland Symphony Orchestra, marching band, jazz ensemble and concert band.

As an educator, Terry has taught instrumental music in Maine for 34 years having taught at all levels from beginning band to college jazz ensembles. He presently is retired from teaching, concluding his career as the middle school band director at Cape Elizabeth Middle School in  Maine.

His professional performing career began while still in high school with the Don Doane Big Band, and continued as trumpet player and arranger/composer with the band until 1984. Terry continued with his own big band for many years, releasing a CD entitled This Note’s For You, and presently writes for the Portland Jazz Orchestra. He resides in Westbrook with his wife Mary Ellen and two sons Matthew and Thomas.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Join Us for Festival de Música Española

Winter 2020 Concert Poster
Join the Concord Band 8pm, Saturday, March 7th at 51 Walden St. to celebrate music with a Latin flare! The concert with the theme “Festival de Música Española” will be a fantastic musical voyage to Southern Spain and Andalusia—the mountains of Peru and folk music of the ancient Incas—the fiery dances of Brazil and Cuba—Mexico’s matador marches and wedding dances—and Argentinian street dance. And it will feature the world premiere of Fantasia Latina by Terry White, a new commission sponsored by Concord Band percussionist Neil Tischler.

La Mezquita de Córdoba by Julia Giroux awesomely depicts the mosque (La Mezquita) of the tenth century the city of Córdoba, which was recognized as the most sophisticated city in Europe, treating Christians and Jews with tolerance. Rulers also improved trade and agriculture, patronized the arts, and made valuable contributions to science. According to Giroux’s notes in the score, the grandeur of La Mezquita and its colorful political and religious history has earned it its place as a true wonder of the civilized world.

Carmen Suite is a setting of selected movements from Carmen Suites 1 and 2 transcribed for winds by Lewis J. Buckley. The four-act French opera stunned first-time audiences with its bold story and subject matter, and was highly controversial.

Volver a la Montaña (Return to the Mountain) is the second movement of the four-movement suite and is based on several folk tunes of the Quechua ("Inca") people. The movement opens with a stately processional, followed by a fast dance that uses the characteristic Latin American alternation or simultaneous appearance of two- and three-beat patterns.

Composer Terry White describes Fantasia Latina being based on four Latin dance styles: Tango, Danzon, Songo and Samba. The extended introduction is intended to introduce idiomatic rhythms and motives that are common to the various styles and evolves with unexpected rhythmic and harmonic twists intended to keep the performer and listener from settling into a "groove." Terry White will conduct the premiere.

Amparito Roca and El Relicario are two of the band world’s most popular paso dobles (two-step) marches fashioned around the Spanish bullfight and dramatic entry of the matador and participants. Its Latin flavor is full of colorful Spanish flourish.

A traditional huapango song, La Bamba De Vera Cruz (La Bamba for short) is often played during wed-dings in Veracruz, where the bride and groom perform the accompanying dance. The footwork, called zapateado, builds to a frenzy as the music tempo accelerates to a climactic conclusion.

Guest ensemble Area 9 Saxophone Quartet will make a special appearance performing the Fandango and Choro y Tango movements from Saxophone Quartet (1977) by Spanish composer Aldemaro Romero. The Concord Band's Secretary and alto sax player John Rabinowitz and our baritone saxophone player Kangyi Liu are quartet members.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Festival de Música Española

Winter 2020 Concert Poster
Saturday March 7, 2020, 8:00 pm, at 51 Walden Performing Arts Center promises to be an exciting evening of Latin music. The concert will present the World Premiere of Fantasia Latina, commissioned by Concord Band percussionist Neil Tischler in celebration of his 48 years with the Band, with composer Terry White conducting the premiere.

The Area 9 Quartet will perform the Saxophone Quartet by Aldemaro Romeo. This exciting ensemble features Concord Band members John Rabinowitz (alto saxophone) and Kangyi Liu (baritone saxophone).

– Program –
Fantasia LatinaTerry White
World Premiere
El RelicarioJosé Padilla
La Mezquita de CórdobaJulie Giroux
· Intermission ·
La Bamba de Vera CruzTerig Tucci
Volver a la MontañaShelly Hanson
Carmen SuiteGeorges Bizet;
ed. Lewis Buckley
Amparito RocaJaime Texidor

This is a free concert. Donations at the door will be gratefully accepted.

Note: If this concert is snowed out, it will be rescheduled for 2:00 pm on Sunday afternoon, March 8.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Hamlet, Carmen, Castaway Connection

An Admission

—by Adena Schutzberg

I know it's not cool to admit this, but I'm a big fan of Gilligan's Island, the silly TV sitcom from the 1960s. As I kid I watched it in syndication on lazy weekday afternoons when I didn't have anything better to do. The seven castaways lived in an idyllic world of sunshine on a remote island in the vicinity of Hawaii. Despite the unique events of each episode, the closing credits always left the residents exactly as they'd always be, stranded on the island. It was on this TV show that I first encountered the music from the opera Carmen, one of the pieces we'll play at our March 7 concert.

The Producer (Season 3, Episode 4)

In what many consider the show's best episode, The Producer, the self-important movie director Harold Hecuba, played by Phil Silvers, crash lands on the island. He may well be their ticket home, but one castaway, movie star Ginger Grant, is slighted by Hecuba and refuses to return to civilization should they be rescued. To convince Grant and Hecuba of her talent, the castaways produce a musical version of Hamlet, set in part to the music of Carmen. In the end, Hecuba steals the idea and returns to Hollywood to develop it, without the castaways.

The best part of the story is the "show within the show," performed on the bamboo stage, first by the castaways, then by Hecuba, playing each of the roles. At six, when I probably first saw this episode, I knew nothing of Hamlet nor Carmen. When I later heard Carmen, probably in high school, I'm sure I thought, "Hey, that's the music from that Gilligan's Island musical!"

The five-minute castaway produced musical version of Hamlet.

Why is this version of Hamlet/Carmen so Sticky?

I can, even today, sing nearly all the parts from this product from memory. I can even recall some of the Hamlet dialog! Why did this mini-musical make such an impression on me at six?
  1. Carmen has some really catchy tunes. Even my housemate, who understandably closes the door to his office when I practice, said "Hey, I know that piece you are practicing. What is it?" When I said Carmen, he made the connection. I was disappointed he did not reference Gilligan's Island.
  2. The lyrics are funny and rhyme. This advice from Polonious to his son Leartes is a bit like Dr. Seuss for the slightly older set:
    Neither a borrower, nor a lender be, Do not forget, stay out of debt!
    Think twice and take this good advice from me.  Guard that old solvency!
    There's just one other thing you ought do do! To thine own self be true!
  3. The staging is memorable. I always enjoyed the inventions on the island. The pedal-powered car was one of my favorites. For the staged production there was a hand-cranked record player providing the background music from Carmen. (While it's not discussed, I assumed the rich couple had the recording with them on the three hour boat tour when it left Honolulu.) Further, the castaways build a stage, with open flamed footlights.

What will you think of when you hear The Concord Band play Carmen?

I confess that when I practice the arrangement of Carmen the band has selected, the Gilligan's Island lyrics run through my head. When did you first hear Carmen? What does the music make you think of? Come hear it in a whole new way at our Winter 2020 concert!

Adena Schutzberg has been a member of the Concord Band clarinet section since 2005 and has been a regular contributor to this blog. She is a recognized author and expert in geospatial technology, working as Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) Program Manager at Esri. She is an avid runner, having completed multiple marathons and 100-mile ultra endurance events.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Memoir: Senior Member Recalls a Lifetime of Service

I joined the Concord Band a few months after finishing my doctorate at MIT's Sloan School of Management and moving to Acton. I had been made aware of the Band by my next-door neighbor, the late Brad Fuller, who played French horn in the Band at the time. I had not played since the end of my senior year in 1965. My four years as a member of the MIT Symphony had been quite wonderful, getting to know and play with the some people who, like me, despite their primary interests in their upcoming careers as scientists, engineers, academicians or managers, also took music very seriously.

In this last of many articles I have written or edited for Notes, the Concord Band newsletter, I want to review just a few of the more important achievements of my 50 years (not to pat myself on my back, but to make it clear that nothing happens unless someone takes the initiative) and to identify the directions in which I would like to see the Band go in the coming years.

One thing I would like to point out: very few of the things I have done for the Concord Band are directly related to music. As I have made clear to the members of the Band over the years, it takes much more than making good music to be an effective member of the Concord Band. I am not planning to retire as an active playing member of the Concord Band, only from most of my non-musical activities.

A Few Past Achievements

In 1970, I persuaded the Band Board to end the Band's parade appearances, allowing it to become strictly a concert band.

In 1972, I began using a computer-based word processing system (of which I had managed the development) to generate personalized fundraising letters. The Band hired a commercial artist to design a new logo for the Concord Band.

In 1976, I persuaded the Acton-Boxborough unit of the Emerson Hospital Auxiliary to sponsor an annual spring Pops concert the night after Concord Rotary's concert and to share expenses. This sponsorship lasted about 40 years. In 1985, I introduced Santa Claus to the Holiday Pops Concerts. Bill Toland, the Band's first Music Director, after Pops that year, commented, "This guy is the real thing." The same Santa has been with us ever since.

I was Fundraising Chairman for most of the period beginning 1970. Although I continually met or exceeded targets and mounted a substantial surplus as protection against any future financial disaster, I feel that I should have done much better. This is a function that deserves considerable improvement.

Having conceived of and introduced Notes as a replacement for the annual fundraising letter, I eventually became its editor and publisher, responsible for writing or sourcing the page 2 article. I organized and managed the processes for newsletter and fundraising mailings to a list of 3,000 three times a year (the third time is for a summer schedule postcard). Later the number of recipients was reduced to 1,800.

I conceived of the Lifetime Service Award. First given in 2002, thirteen have been awarded to date. I took on the responsibility of producing Concert CDs to give them professional quality documentation and packaging.

I designed new percussion cabinets and worked with Lexington's Minuteman Regional High School carpentry shop supervisor to have them produced by students.

In 1995, at the end of Bill Toland's tenure, I wrote the Band's Mission Statement in preparation for the search for a new Music Director, and coined the Band motto, "A Community Band with a Professional Attitude".

During planning for the 50th Anniversary season, I conceived of the idea of making video recordings of Fall and Winter Concerts as a major addition to the Band archive. I brought in Concord-Carlisle TV as the production company and acted as Executive Producer and post-production editor. I organized the Band to get the Fall, 2008, Concert video onto as many public access cable stations as possible to promote the 50th Anniversary concert in March, 2009. Beginning with that first concert, each piece performed has become part of the Concord Band YouTube Channel, which now includes more than 200 performance recordings.

In time for the 50th Anniversary Concert, I proposed naming Bill McManus Music Director Emeritus and Bill Toland, Music Director Laureate.

Suggested Future Directions

The next Concord Band Fundraising Chairperson should try to do much more with the job than I did. In particular, grants beyond those of the Massachusetts Cultural Council should be investigated and, where appropriate, pursued. In addition, fundraising methods used by other symphonic wind ensembles around the country should be explored, and those that appear to be most promising, tried.

One promising area is the involvement of local school children. There are a few potential advantages of such activity. In addition to providing performance opportunities for the kids, it makes them aware of us in advance of potential membership later in life. More immediately, it makes their parents aware of the Band's concerts.

Finally, I want to encourage all those who may serve on the Band Board of Trustees in the future to continue to pursue the Band's program of commissions, setting aside funds every year and seeking grants for major works. I would recommend avoiding consortia as they make it very difficult for any one participant to influence the work to be created. I would like to see the Band commission a work for symphonic wind ensemble and mixed chorus.

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. He is president of the nonprofit, Dream Centers for the Performing Arts.