Concord Band Fall Concert 2015
Review by Patti Lake
Concord, Mass, October 25, 2015 —
It is a wonderful experience to be treated to an evening of music where one
is merely a listener and not a performer.
The Concord Band Fall Concert — “Mystical Moments” —
did not disappoint.
After a little bit of a slow start, the Concord Band picked up momentum as
the evening progressed and did not fail to impress with their renditions and
execution of a very challenging program.
The band opened with Prelude and Dance of the Mystic Flames
arranged by W. Rhoades from original material by Scriabin.
The good dynamic contrasts created levels of excitement throughout the piece
and a few minor intonation issues — perhaps due to the chilly concert
hall — were quickly corrected as the instruments warmed.
As the pitch came into focus and the rhythms tightened, the band appeared to
collectively relax and focus on the wonderful sound they are so capable of
The band's second selection, The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Paul
Dukas, was a delightful band arrangement of this classic piece.
The woodwinds are to be commended for executing the transcribed string lines
with relative ease, indicative of many practice hours well spent.
As expected, this selection was quite the crowd pleaser as evidence by the
many smiles, foot tapping and head nodding. One could actually imagine
dancing brooms and rushing water throughout the concert hall!
Concord Band Clarinetist, Jerry Vabulas's arrangement of Chernomor's
March was a pleasant little piece that ushered the listener right into
Glinka's operatic story of Ruslan and Lyudmilla.
Vabulas effectively passed a lovely little repetitive line amongst the
instrumentalist in this simple, yet effective arrangement.
Incantation and Dance by John Barnes-Chance is an old favorite and
was exciting to hear.
The haunting opening was beautifully executed as the low flutes played
perfectly in synch.
The initial entrance of the low reeds was a bit muddy, but became much
clearer in subsequent entrances.
The rhythmic line laid down by the low reeds was very enjoyable and the
formidable wall of low brass was enormous and solid.
The percussion entrances were spot on and the piece in its entirety was
very, very well done.
As expected, the Concord Band played a fabulous rendition of John Phillip
Sousa's Nobles of the Mystic Shrine march.
The Concord band seems to really excel and enjoy playing marches as
evidenced by the strong melody lines and great dynamic contrasts.
It is also both interesting and enjoyable to watch James O'Dell as the band
seemed to not even need him to conduct at times.
It was intriguing to hear this Sousa march due to the unusual key in the
introduction and first strain (B♭ minor) and the addition of harp,
triangle and tambourine.
Not being a big fan of Sousa marches — my fellow horn players
understand why — this was a pleasant and appealing selection.
Old Churches by Michael Colgrass gave the listener a true sense of
Gregorian chant through the dark, lush and haunting chords used throughout
O'Dell's sense of humor added a delightful charm as he interacted with and
connected to audience members.
His explanation of the unique instruments required in the piece —
especially the “bowls” and how they were acquired — was
The Concord Band created a setting where one could truly have a sense of the
sounds of monks chanting interrupted by the hushed conversations of
What could possibly be said about Carl Orff's Carmina Burana
arranged by John Krance?
This epic rendition began with the tremendous sound of a wall of brass and
the Concord Band successfully brought the audience to believe they were
actually hearing the sound of a chorus of hundreds of voices.
From driving pulses and tight rhythms to the peaceful, serene and grounding
moments, the music teased at the emotions of the audience.
The well-executed solos and soli throughout the eight movements to the
return to the grand Oh Fortuna made everything about Carmina
Burana simply fabulous.
Met with a standing ovation, this was indeed a grand opening to the Concord
Band's concert season — a season you won't want to miss.
Patricia Lake is the owner of “The Joyful Noise Project”,
specializing in early childhood music and movement, children's theatre and
Additionally, she is the Director of Children's Ministries at Faith Baptist
Church in Auburn, MA.
Patricia lives in Shrewsbury with her husband Brian (also a brass
player) and maintains an active private French horn studio.
She is a member of the Concord Orchestra and works as a freelance horn
player in the greater Central MA area.
For additional information, contact Ken Troup,
Concord Band Publicity.
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