Tuesday, February 26, 2019

CONCERT RECORDINGS FROM 2/25/19



VARSITY BAND

Rites of Tamburo......................................................................Robert W. Smith

Intermezzo Sinfonico from the opera 
“Cavalleria Rusticana”......................................Pietro Mascagni/arr. Del Borgo


Freedom City March............................................ Karl L. King/arr. Swearingen

ROYAL PAIN IN THE BRASS

Funky Town

SYMPHONIC WINDS

Thunderscape................................................................................. Erik Morales

Dakota Walters, Student Teacher and Conductor

Legend of the Ancient Hero..........................................................Benjamin Yeo


Eclipse Galop...................................................................Karl L. King/arr. Glove

SYMPHONY BAND
Three Ayres from Gloucester.....................................................Hugh M. Stuart
i. Jolly Earl of Cholmondeley
ii. Ayre for Eventide
iii. The Fiefs of Wembley

Paseo..........................................................................................William Bolcom

The Red Balloon...........................................................................Anne McGinty


Foiled Again!.......................................................................................Jack Wilds

CONCERT BAND

The Boys of the Old Brigade..............................W. Paris Chambers/ed. Smith

Elegy for a Young American.....................................................Ronald Lo Presti

Who Puts His Trust in
God Most Just (BWV 433)............................ Johann Sebastian Bach/arr. Croft

Symphony No. 2.............................................................................Frank Ticheli
i. Apollo Unleashed

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Program Notes for the WHS Concert Band Performance 2/25/19


Boys of the Old Brigade by W. Paris Chambers
Program Notes by Liza Parra, Anna Mathews, and Nathan Brummer

Psychomotor (skills, physically, that we will build by playing this music)

When playing The Boys of the Old Brigade you need to listen louder than you play, because in order to stay together you need to count very carefully. March tempo is 120 beats per minute (bpm) and Chambers’ march is also in cut time. Another skill we built while playing this march is contrasting dynamics. During the second strain we go from piano to forte suddenly, which is an important skill to have in order to give the march more depth and texture. Once again, dynamics become very crucial to the development of the march in the trio, where we have to go from a subito fortissimo (suddenly very loud) to piano.

Knowledge (Who is the composer, why did they write it, what key is the piece in, what is the form of the music, what is the historical significance of this music, what style is it)

The composer of The Boys of the Old Brigade is William Paris Chambers. Chambers was born in Newport, Pennsylvania in 1854, and was well known in his time for being an extraordinary coronet player; he was also known as a bandmaster, and finally as a composer. During his lifetime he published close to ninety marches, and a great number of cornet solos. One of his most famous publishings was The Boys of the Old Brigade, this song is in the key signature of Bb and Eb and is in the style of a march. The march consists of an introduction (mm 1-12), a first strain (mm 13-29), a second strain (mm 30-46), a transition to the trio (mm 47-50), a trio (mm 51-66), and a break strain (mm 67-83).

Affective (what do we want the audience to FEEL when they listen to this music? Why?)


The beginning of the song is like a call to arms from the trumpet to really get your attention.  Then the first strain could be compared to two opposing sides of the brass and the woodwinds with opposing melodic lines that have two very different ideas.  As one of Chambers’ most difficult pieces he wrote this song is very technical and at speeds of about 120 bpm it is difficult to keep tempo and still be lyrical with the music. The trio in this song feature the low brass and the baritones specifically having scale like ideas with accidentals written in to add more emphasis. What makes this piece perfect for us is almost every concert we have one march that we like to do and as one of Chambers’ most remembered song it is something that forced many to work more to have better technique and better alignment with their section and everyone with the same motive.

ELEGY FOR A YOUNG AMERICAN by Ronald Lo Presti
Blog/notes by Kate McGlinch and Leah Stroebel



Physical (Psycho-Motor) learning goals
Elegy for a Young American is mostly in minor keys but has a few major chords that represent an upturn and acceptance at the end of the piece. As a band we would practice tuning in both keys for our warm-ups and focused on a balance and blend throughout the band. Elegy for a Young American tests the ranges of the woodwind instruments specifically the clarinets, and the brass focus on a controlled sound and dynamics. The band must also focus on vertical alignment so that we all reach the Grand Pause at the same time which results in a dramatic effect.


Emotional (Affective) learning goals
Ronald Lo Presti composed this piece after the death of President John F. Kennedy, and used the seven stages of grief to express how he coped with this young American’s death. The soft chords at the start of the piece are expected to evoke a feeling of denial, the first stage of grief. This might remind the audience of a time they lost someone important to them whether it is a family member or a famous celebrity. Additionally, the climax of the piece is filled with lots of powerful woodwind runs and in my mind I imagine the runs as butterflies as you start the sixth stage of of grief, the upward turn. I imagine the upward turn as a strange feeling that you are uncomfortable with coming to terms with the death, therefore you feel butterflies in your stomach. The upward turn ends with a grand pause which reflects the single moment where you realize that you can overcome this tragic event. I hope that anyone in the audience who has lost someone recently and is struggling with grief can hear this piece and perhaps this will be their grand pause when they can finally begin their reconstruction and start to see their life turn around.


Things to know about this piece... (knowledge goals)


Ronald Lo Presti (1933 – 1985) was a composer, music educator and clarinetist. He earned his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He later became a clarinet teacher in public schools. In 1964 he was appointed an instructor in music theory at Arizona State University in Tempe. “Elegy for a Young American” is dedicated to President John F. Kennedy who was assassinated the year before. This piece is supposed to depict the aftermath of his death and the country’s reaction. The many different stages of grief are represented throughout the various strains of this extremely emotional piece.


Who Puts His Trust In God Most Just By J.S. Bach, Arr. James Croft

Blog/Notes by Paul Nielsen and Josh Lecuyer

 In our band classes at Woodbury High, we have a common saying: “There’s a reason you’re not in choir.” Although some of our musicians have incredible vocal talent, there is a big difference between projecting your voice and hiding behind an instrument. One of our pieces challenges us not with rapid tonguing or heavy articulation, but rather with full tone and the dreaded ‘choral score’. Apart from a few soloists, the Woodbury High School Concert Band takes on the role of a choir in ‘Who Puts His Trust In God Most Just’, conceived by J.S. Bach and arranged by James Croft for band.

If you don’t know who Johann Sebastian Bach is, ask the person next to you. James Croft was the director of bands at Florida State University, and the arrangement of this piece is what brought him to fame. Born in September 15, 1929, James Croft was a very esteemed musician, winning accolades such as being named one of ten Outstanding Music Educators by The School Musician, the Midwest Clinic’s Medal of Honor, and being added to the National Band Association’s Hall of Fame.  Upon Croft’s death in 2012, graduate students from his band commissioned Frank Ticheli to write a symphony, and the result is a three movement symphony. We play the third and final movement of the symphony, “Apollo Unleashed”, for the concert. Go read about it.

Occasionally, our warm-up for the band will include a chorale- not sung, but played. Typically, we play it, and then forget about it as soon as warm-ups finish. There are many fundamentals at play in this- tone development, balance, pulse- but then we get to a song like Galop and we can only focus on tempo and volume. ‘Who Puts His Trust In God Most Just’ instead intensifies these fundamentals, to be played every time with consistency.

The most difficult part of the chorale is a simple answer for a band (and our band especially) - the choral parts. Although some members of the band have experience in singing and reading choral music, most of the band has little to no experience at all with this new concept. The first challenge was finding our vocal range - soprano, alto, tenor, or bass. Then, it was finding where our parts fit in with each other. The beautiful choral harmonies found in this piece can be difficult to express if the reader has no idea how to interpret that kind of music. The third and the most troublesome challenge of this piece is blending our singing like how we would blend our playing. In reference to the pyramid of sound, the basses have to project their sound the most, followed by tenors, then altos, and lastly sopranos. It took a lot of practice to perfect the vocal parts of this arrangement. A huge thanks to Mr. Timmer, Woodbury’s choir director, for helping the band sound great!

The piece “Who Puts His Trust in God Most Just” can have many different interpretations. Although the piece does contain Christian elements, it can be interpreted in a neutral way. One interpretation could be the following: If you have faith in what you do and what you believe, you will surely end up prosperous. If you look at the piece through the perspective of a Christian, the piece could be interpreted as having faith in Jesus Christ and God will surely lead you to heaven. It can be difficult to find different interpretations of the piece, because lyrics cannot always be interpreted the same as any other form of music. There is a more rigid message that is portrayed through the music, one that you don’t find in orchestra or band arrangements.

Our band’s favorite part of the piece has to be the moment where we all come in, in unison, singing instead of playing. Who expects a band to sing a bit in a concert, nevermind for almost the entirety of a piece? The long and beautiful chime solo at the beginning, by Garrett Strain, and the instrumental solos during the choral parts also add to the uniqueness of the piece. The warm, beautiful tones of the singing combined with the wind solos should bring about this feeling of peace with yourself, knowing that you will be safe. The piece climaxes at the end when everyone plays a rich A chord, which gives the audience confidence and sets them at ease. There are not any new music theory concepts introduced through this piece, but reading through the choral score proved itself to be a challenge for our group.




http://www.maestroandfox.com/Maestro_&_Fox_Music/James_Croft.html (info on James Croft)




Frank Ticheli's Symphony No. 2 Mvt. III: Apollo Unleashed
program notes by Sophia Huf, Bodie Ziertman, and Alex Van Buren


Play-by-Play of the piece at the bottom

Knowledge and a physco-motor: Frank Ticheli’s Symphony No. 2 movement III is a complex homage to director of bands at Florida State University, James E. Croft, commissioned for him by his adoring students. The movement is titled Apollo Unleashed, using the Greek sun god’s name as a reference to Florida’s sunny weather. The movement also features the Bach chorale “Who Puts His Trust In God Most Just”, it symbolizes a grounding force in Croft’s life. The chorale drastically contrasts with the bright sixteenth note runs that appear throughout the piece and brilliantly features the low brass and horn sections. Overall the band was challenged by the movement’s complex rhythms and its melodies which are separated throughout multiple sections. This challenge has forced improvement and growth throughout the band.


Personally, this piece really appeals to me. It is almost too much to take in, the rhythms go by on a racing tempo, and the music itself feels radiant hyper and galvanizing. There is almost always exists a fast complex feature being played by any number of sections. This speedy rush of bright sixteenth notes is completely contrasted by the deceptively slow, emotional, and melodic Bach chorale sections in the music. Though these sections feel slower they are played at the same tempo, this has caused difficulty with tempo on multiple occasions. In fact tempo has been on of the most recurring challenges in the third movement. Counting for entrances has also been difficult, since the melody is often split among different instrumentation unorthodox entrance times are common. Despite these challenges Ticheli’s Apollo Unleashed has been very enjoyable to rehearse; I hope it is equally enjoyable to listen to!


Apollo Unleashed can be a very emotionally impactful piece. The driving energy, ever pushing players to the final measure, is almost frantic before being elegantly evened out by more lyrical and hopeful interruptions. The most moving parts of the section happen when the inspiration from Bach’s chorale shines through. The music slows, gathering strength, significance, and a type of reverence for the moment before diving back into the technical speed our band has come to know and love. These hints of “Who Puts His Trust…” truly center the movement and bring into the music a not so easily describable base of sentimental intensity.


The movement starts off quiet and mildly confusing, with only a few different people playing at once, including muted trombones and odd percussion, before finally finding the driving tempo through the full group. It then goes into a waltz feel for a moment, before the trumpets have a run that appears like sunrays through the clouds, hence the name of the piece. The piece, after the glimpse of light, becomes a bit softer and more harmonious rather than percussive. This is a transition section, which then features the trombones and other brass, before dropping off to just the high woodwinds and saxophones.  This transition leads to the first chorale section, which features the low brass as the melody and harmonies, with a sparkling trumpet and flute line underneath, like the sun on calm water. Soon, the chorale dissolves away to become just the sparkle of the woodwinds. This transitions to a mixed meter section, where the rhythms is a bit odd for most people to listen to. However, soon it steadies out again to the same feel as the beginning, before reaching a beautiful, sparkling flute waltz with the bassoon in the background. Then, everything becomes strange again in the transition to a recapitulation, and the return of the Bach chorale in the low brass and shimmer in the flutes and clarinets.  Then comes the conclusion, with a powerful timpani solo and build in the trombones and baritones, before coming to an abrupt end.