The Concord Band’s Fall Concert, 8pm on October 21, will inaugurate the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, upcoming in 2025, featuring Chester: Overture for Band by William Schuman, based on Boston composer William Billings’ best known song that became a Revolutionary War patriotic anthem.
Composed in 1956, Schuman expanded the third movement from his New England Tryptich for orchestra and arranged it for concert band. The Concord Band played Chester during the Bicentennial and included the piece on the Band’s 1975 LP. More recently, the Band performed Chester at the 2012 tribute to Music Director Laurate William Toland, who had conceived and conducted the 1975 album.
Maestro James O’Dell has rounded out the theme, New England Portraits, with other pieces inspired by places and events of New England. Four of these pieces feature composers who have written commissions expressly for the Concord Band.
Andrew Boysen’s Snapshots of Acadia, with movements depicting the Bass Harbor Lighthouse, Thunder Hole, Cadillac Mountain and its famous sunrise, will be presented alongside a video showing selected images of the landmarks. Roger Cichy, who also has conducted his original compositions with the Concord Band, wrote Beachscapes to recognize three beaches, Nauset (Massachusetts), Rocky Neck (Connecticut), and Scarborough (Rhode Island). Stephen Bulla composed North Bridge Portrait about Concord’s famous bridge and the “shot heard round the world.” Three New England Caricatures was written by James Curnow on a commission from UMass Lowell dedicated to the New England Youth Wind Ensemble. The piece is loaded with interesting percussion sounds such as cake pans, frying pans, and water bottles, comprising three movements: “Old Jolly Roger,” “Polly Van,” and “Captain Kidd,” after the infamous 17th century pirate.
The finale of the program is Old Home Days by Danbury Connecticut-born composer Charles Ives. The multi-movement work is based on hymn tunes, traditional songs, and melodies that might be performed by New England small town bands at parades and country dances.
The Fall Concert will be held Saturday October 21, 2023 at 8:00 pm at 51 Walden Performing Arts Center in Concord, MA. Admission is free, with a $20 donation requested. The Concord Band is sponsored in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. More information is available on the Band’s website www.concordband.org.