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Press Release

For Immediate Release

Concord Band Fall 2010 Concert Review

Concord, Mass, October 31, 2010 — On Saturday, October 23, the Concord Band presented its Fall Concert at the 51 Walden Performing Arts Center in Concord. The program consisted of a nice selection of well known works mixed with less well known, but still very accessible compositions. I will resist the temptation to discuss the highlights of each individual piece because the overall quality of the concert was remarkably high, the entire band membership deserves kudos, and the musical comments apply throughout the program.

The opening piece, Manatee Lyric Overture by Robert Sheldon, was commissioned by the Manatee County Florida School Board and premiered by a high school honor band. It is an excellent and uplifting work that deserves to be heard more frequently. This was followed by Vincent Persichetti’s Pageant, a polytonal work which begins with a contemplative section followed by a lively parade section and a stirring climax. The next piece on the program, March of the Belgian Paratroopers by Pierre Liemans, contains one of those melodies which is hard to forget. It’s slow for a march but has the feel of relentless driving force. Rounding out the first section of the concert were five movements from Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, transcribed for band by Erik Leidzen. This piece needs no introduction and the Leidzen transcription for band works very well.

After the intermission, the band continued with a performance of The Fairest of the Fair by Sousa, edited by Frederick Fennell, that would surely have met with bandmaster Fennell’s approval. Next was Norman Dello Joio’s Scenes from the Louvre. Originally written for orchestra, this superb piece has become a staple of the band literature. This was followed by Lewis J. Buckley’s Con Sabor Español (With a Spanish Flavor), an expansion of a piece originally written as a test to audition conductors. The final work on the program was Leonard Bernstein’s delightful Wrong Note Rag.

Fortunately this program was video recorded for broadcast on the local cable station because it really deserved a larger audience than can be provided at the 51 Walden location. Throughout the evening I was struck by the overall performance quality. Rhythm, probably the most persuasive element of music, was solid and infectious. Intonation was excellent, especially notable among the woodwinds which can be the most difficult to keep in tune. Articulation and phrasing of the various individual solos were consistently satisfying. Attention to dynamics, smoothness of transitions, and a generally “crystalline” nature of the performances contributed to a fuller appreciation by the audience of each of the pieces.

The members of the Concord Band are drawn from the greater Concord community. Most have “day jobs” which prevent them from making the time commitment to practice expected of a professional musician. Nevertheless they continually find a way to come together as a unit to provide greater Concord audiences with exceptional live musical entertainment. Over the years the quality of the Concord Band’s performances has continued to improve. The credit for this continued and even improving excellence must go first and foremost to the Concord Band membership. The governing board, consisting of band members, has consistently shown great wisdom in directing the activities of the band and in selecting outstanding music directors. They have chosen directors who, along with excellent conducting technique, relate well with the band membership on a personal level, are sensitive to the membership’s interests, and possess extraordinary musical leadership skills.

They have continued to exhibit this wisdom by selecting James O’Dell to replace recently retired William McManus. Like McManus, Mr. O’Dell is a renowned music educator. Throughout the concert Mr. O’Dell had full command of the band with just the sort of restrained but very clear conducting style that amateur musicians need. The music he chose to program was such that I would like to have it all in my iPod. His stage presence and willingness to discuss the works with the audience added to the enjoyment. Clearly the band has again selected their Music Director wisely.

For more than a decade the Concord Band has been giving summer performances to large audiences at the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, MA. The remainder of the Concord Band’s concerts are held at the performance center at 51 Walden Street in Concord. These 51 Walden concerts offer the opportunity to hear the band in a more intimate setting and are enthusiastically recommended for audiences of all ages and all musical persuasions. Consider getting your tickets now for the upcoming Holiday Pops on December 10 and 11. Those tickets go fast.

— Richard Chick

For additional information, contact Peter Norton, Concord Band Publicity. Visit our website at

This page last updated: 2010/11/1
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