Since 1959..................P.O. Box
302, Concord MA 01742............Published Semi-annually
Winter/Spring 1996 Newsletter
See also Notes, Fall 1995.
In keeping with its long tradition of commissioning new works for concert
band, the Concord Band will be presenting the world premier of
Reflections of Emerson, a new composition by Boston composer Thomas
J. McGah. A professor of composition at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, McGah
has published many works in a variety of genres, including several
compositions for concert band commissioned by the MIT Symphonic Band.
McGah's new work is a unique composition for narrator and concert band
based on writings of the great 19th century author Ralph Waldo Emerson,
who lived in Concord for many
years. Concord Band Music Director, Dr. William
McManus, conceived the idea of commissioning a new work based on the
writings of Concord authors, and the Band's Board of Directors was
successful in obtaining a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to
support the project.
The new composition is a single movement work with five distinct sections,
separated by excerpts from Emerson's writings. McGah has attempted to
compose a piece to reflect musically the meaning of Emerson's words. The
excerpts from Emerson's writing were selected by the composer. In the
introduction to the piece, McGah says to the audience: "Let us listen and
reflect upon four excerpts from Emerson's writings and ask ourselves the
followingIs Ralph Waldo Emerson a man whose words speak to us
'moderns', or do his ideas and beliefs belong only to the past?"
Thomas McGah has been a member of the Berklee faculty since 1973. He holds
memberships in a number of professional and musical organizations,
including the Society of Composers; the International Alban Berg Society;
and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).
Radio Personality Peter Ross to Narrate McGah
The Concord Band is honored to have veteran classical music radio announcer
Peter Ross as the Narrator for the world premiere of Reflections of
Emerson, Thomas J. McGah's new work for Narrator and Concert Band,
which will be presented at the Band's Winter Concert on Saturday, March 2,
at 51 Walden in Concord. Peter was classical music announcer for twenty
years on WGBH and WBUR, and spent fifteen years as overnight host on
WCRB. It is believed that his tenure at WCRB was the longest in that time
period for any announcer in any format, and certainly in classical radio.
Peter has a longtime interest in music for band and wind ensemble, stemming
from his days as a player in high school, college, and community bands. He
has served as Master of Ceremonies and commentator for several Boston
Festivals of Bands, in which the Concord Band participated. Peter is also
the regular concert host and commentator for the Metropolitan Wind Symphony
and appears with the Patrick Gilmore Society All-State Honors Community
Band, the Middlesex Community Band, the Boston University Wind Ensemble,
and others. He has performed pieces for band and narrator to texts by John
F. Kennedy with the Boston University Alumni Band, traditional children's
and holiday stories with the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, and by Edgar Allen
Poe with the Boston University Wind Ensemble.
Concert to Feature Music of Leonard Bernstein and
In addition the McGah premiere, the Concord Band
will be paying tribute to Leonard Bernstein
by performing three of the composer's most popular works published for
Bernstein's Overture to Candide was first performed by the New York
Philharmonic in 1957, with the composer conducting. Although Bernstein's
comic operetta Candide was short-lived on broadway, the
Overture has become a favorite in the repertoire of orchestras and
bands through out the world. Although it is a very short work, lasting only
three minutes, this transcription by Walter Beeler is an extremely
challenging work for any band.
The second Bernstein composition will be Danzon from his ballet
Fancy Free. Danzon is the third of three sailors' dances in
the ballet, which was later transformed into the Broadway musical, On
the Town. Danzon is an intense, emotional, Latin style piece
which is sure to delight our audience.
Our tribute to Bernstein would not be complete without performing the music
from his best-known musical, West Side Story. The arrangement
includes many popular selections from the show.
In addition to the Bernstein works and the McGah premiere, the Band will be
performing an exciting piece by Roger Nixon, entitled Fiesta del
Pacifico. A festival by this name is one of several held annually in
various California communities to celebrate the "Old Spanish Days" of the
state. Nixon uses exciting Spanish rhythms and all the resources of the
modern concert band to paint a musical portrait of this festival, held in
San Diego every summer. The work features a lovely english horn solo, which
will be performed by Susan Console.
Boston Band Festival
After a year's hiatus, the Concord Band will return to the Boston Band
Festival at Faneuil Hall on Saturday, June 1. The Festival, sponsored by
the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, features some of the most outstanding
community and military bands in New England. The festival organizers are
very excited that the Concord Band will be performing this year. The
performance schedule has not yet been set.
To Beg, or Not to Beg...
A frequent subject of discussion at meetings of the Concord Band Board of
Directors is the nature of our financial support solicitation. There are
two fundamental schools of thought on this subject: to beg, or not to beg.
In the days prior to the creation of Notes (the newsletter you are
now diligently reading) in 1989, our Fund Raising Director would write a
cover letter to accompany a return envelope in which you would be asked to
send your check. Notes was created so that we could provide concert
schedules, information on recent and upcoming activities of the Band
(accompanied by photos where appropriate and available), and,
uh...incidentally, ask for a donation (the return envelope continuing to be
Over the years various members of the Band Board have wondered whether we
have been wasting space on the fund-raising article, the idea being that
the enclosure of the return envelope makes it clear enough that we are
asking for financial support. Some of these same people have even doubted
that most Notes readers even bother to read the fund-raising article
(suggesting that scores of Nepalese high school cricket matches would be of
greater interest). To test this last theory, we are offering two free
tickets to our March 2nd concert to anyone who sends a card or note with
his/her name and address and the phrase "two free tickets" to the Band at
the masthead address by February 22. Tickets will be held at the door.
Other Board members very much favor these articles, suggesting that their
content is occasionally factual and at other times amusing, and would like
to see them continue. Who can forget such articles as "Truth in Begging,"
or the one that provided details for leaving the bulk of your estate to the
Band, or the one in which commonly asked questions about the Band are
wittily answered, offending nearly everyone in the process?
What do you think? Our Fund Raising Director has offered to stop writing
these articles if one thousand or more readers submit thoughtful
10,000-word essays analyzing their pros and cons, with 90% of the
submissions concluding that the cons outweigh the pros. Essays should be
submitted to the masthead address and will become the property of our Fund
Raising Director (who threatens to publish the 20 or 30 best of them on
If you don't care one way or the other, but would like to help support the
Concord Band financially so that we might continue to provide the community
with the best in concert band music, please send your check in the enclosed
envelope. If you have no such envelope, please send your contribution to
the masthead address.
Jazz Great Phil Wilson to Appear with the Concord Band at Spring Pops
This year's Spring Pops Concerts should be swinging affairs when legendary
jazz trombonist Phil Wilson takes the stage as the Concord Band's guest
artist. Phil is an internationally renowned musician who has performed with
such jazz greats as Louis Armstrong and Woody Herman. He initially came to
prominence as first trombonist and jazz soloist with the early '60's
edition of Woody Herman's "swinging herd." Wilson recorded 12 albums during
his stay with the Herman Band. After 3 years with Herman, Phil joined the
Dorsey Brothers Band. In 1965—after nine exhausting years of bus tours
and one-night stands—he accepted a faculty
position at Berklee College of
Music in Boston.
During his thirty years at Berklee, Phil has established himself as one of
the pioneers of jazz education. In addition to being a world-class
trombonist and jazz educator, Phil is known throughout the jazz world as a
first-class composer and arranger. His arrangement of the Joe Zawinul hit,
Mercy, Mercy, which was recorded by the Buddy Rich Band, won him a
Grammy Award nomination.
Phil has appeared as a guest artist at jazz festivals throughout the
world. This past fall, he spent two weeks touring the Netherlands and
recorded with the Metropol Orchestra, the radio orchestra of the
Netherlands—a group that Phil has described as "one of the finest in the
world." He also spent two weeks touring Sweden, featuring music from his
latest CD, The Wizard of Oz Suite, with the NDR (Northern German
Radio) Big Band. Phil wrote all of the arrangements on the disk and is the
featured soloist with the group.
In December, Phil was honored at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston
when former members of the International Dues Band, which Phil founded many
years ago at Berklee, came to Boston to participate in a tribute concert in
recognition of Phil's 31 years of teaching at Berklee. Many of the former
members of the Dues Band are now celebrated jazz artists.
A resident of Belmont, Phil is looking forward to performing with the
Concord Band at the Spring Pops concerts, sponsored each year in April by
the Emerson Hospital Auxiliary and the Concord Rotary. Phil will also be
performing with the Band at our Independence Day concert at Fruitlands
Museums in Harvard. Among the selections he will be performing with the
Band are Ed Madden's arrangement of Somewhere Oz, Phil's own
arrangement (in honor of Louis Armstrong) of Sleepytime Down South,
and a swinging arrangement of St. James Infirmary. Phil Wilson's
appearance at Pops is sure to be one of the most exciting events of the
Concord Band's 1995-96 season.
Phil Wilson plays the Conn 88-H Trombone.
Calendar of Events
Saturday, March 2 at 51 Walden, Concord, 8:15 PM. For tickets call
the Concord Band at (508) 897-9969.
Friday and Saturday April 12 and 13. For tickets call:
- Friday: Concord Rotary Club (508) 369-1055
- Saturday: Emerson Hospital Auxiliary (508) 369-6815
Boston Band Festival
Saturday, June 1, Faneuil Hall, Boston. Free admission.