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!