Holiday Pops with the Concord Band
Featuring Guest Artist John Ferrillo, Principal Oboe with the BSO
December 11 & 12, 2015
A Review by Vanessa Rene
Concord, Mass, Decemmber 12, 2015 —
The Concord Band has proven once again that music makes the holidays
brighter with their annual Holiday Pops program this past weekend.
Normally, we don't write reviews of Pops programs because, after all,
they're Pops programs, right?
This one was completely different, though, through the addition of solo
performances by John Ferrillo, Principal Oboist with the Boston Symphony
His inspired performances of Autumn Soliloquy,
Variations on a Theme of Glinka and Gabriel's Oboe left the
audience transfixed, including this reviewer and several of her friends in
the audience who are, after all, students of the oboe as well!
The Concord Band is a gem, and the Greater Boston community is very
fortunate to have this group as a cornerstone of the community.
They performed several well-known favorites, such as
Overture to a Winter Festival by James Curnow (commissioned by the
Concord Band in 1995),
Chanukah is Here by Calvin Custer,
Swingin' Santa, arranged by William McManus and
Auld Lang Syne, a stirring and emotional arrangement of the
traditional theme by the late, great William Toland, founding director of
the Concord Band and long-time educator in the Bedford School System.
These winter favorites were played cleanly and crisply, as is to be expected
of this high-caliber performing group.
They also performed some pieces that were featured in their Autumn Concert:
Old Churches, by Michael Colgrass,
Carmina Burana, mvts. 12 and 13, by Carl Orff (band arrangement by
J. Krance), and
Incantation and Dance, by John Barnes Chance — all intense and
A new piece, Minor Alterations by David Lovrien, consists of many
old favorite Christmas melodies set in a minor mode.
Conducted by Assistant Director Steve Barbas, it is a bit like
Mary Poppins meets The Nightmare Before Christmas, and was
The real gem of the night, however, was the solo work of John Ferrillo.
Mr. Ferrillo began his musical career in the Bedford Schools as a student of
William Toland, who showed him that the sky was the limit.
He is an accomplished and prolific performer, with tremendous technical
facility on one of the more cantankerous instruments in the orchestra.
He has a luxurious and brilliant tonal quality, and his performance is
inspired and mesmerizing.
Autumn Soliloquy by James Barnes is a plaintive and haunting melody,
performed masterfully by Mr. Ferrillo.
The Variations on a Theme of Glinka by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov has
bright, flashing moments of color and virtuosity, coupled with the
adventurous melodies characteristic of Mikhail Glinka.
Gabriel's Oboe by Ennio Morricone, a theme from the movie
The Mission (1986), is exquisite in its simplicity, grace and soaring
These pieces were performed to perfection by Mr. Ferrillo, who is not only
the consummate performer, but a wonderfully down-to-earth and delightful
individual who arrived in his Celtics jacket with a smile on his face and
the warmest words for the Band and Music Director James O'Dell.
It was my pleasure and delight to speak with him about the ins and outs of
the instrument, and I have nothing but the highest admiration for this man
who has devoted his life to the enrichment and entertainment of his
This concert was a dream-come-true, and from the response of the rest of the
audience, the sentiment was shared across the board!
Bravo once again, CBA, for an excellent evening of entertainment!!
About the author —
Vanessa Rene has been an oboist for most of her life, and was a member of
the Concord Band from 1989 until 2008.
She lives in Lowell MA with her husband, Larry and her dog, Bob.
When she is not working, she plays the oboe with the Chelmsford Community
Band and sings with the Carlisle Community Chorus.
For additional information, contact Ken Troup,
Concord Band Publicity.
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