We continue our 23rd season with our next concert to be presented on June 16, (Saturday) at 1:30 p.m.: Wexford Place retirement center: This is tentative, check back to confirm date.
June 29, (Friday) at 7:00 p.m.: Parkville Presbyterian Church for their Final Fridays concert series.
July 4, (Wednesday) at 7:30 p.m.: Park University Chapel: our 24th annual Independence Day concert!
Vacation until September!
Upcoming Concert Repertoire, June 28 and July 4, 2018
Echoes from the Battlefield: We commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I with this collection of patriotic songs popular during the war, arranged by Kansas City area native, Darren Jenkins. Featured are songs intended to rally the troops including Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag, and the George M. Cohen favorite, Over There, while Keep the Home Fires Burning, reminds us of the emotional toll and sacrifice inflicted by the war on both the soldiers far from home and their families.
West Side Story: 2018 is also the centennial of the birth of American composer, Leonard Bernstein. While best known during his life as the popular conductor of the New York Philharmonic, he was also highly successful as a composer, with his greatest popular success being the musical score for the Broadway hit and movie, West Side Story. This medley contains most of the show’s favorite songs, including Tonight, Maria, I Feel Pretty, and Cool. Throughout, Bernstein shows his ability to combine American and Latin popular idioms with the sophistication of Classical music to produce some of the most memorable music of American musical theater.
George Gershwin, A Symphonic Portrait: Born two decades before Bernstein, the highly prolific American composer, George Gershwin achieved astonishing success in both his music for theater and the concert hall, where he attempted to combine jazz idioms with classical forms. In this celebration of his music we hear well known songs from his folk opera, Porgy and Bess, including Summertime, Bess, You is my Woman, and It Ain’t Necessarily So. Additional songs from other musicals include, Love is Here to Stay, and A Foggy Day. In addition to his flowing, lyrical melodies and catchy rhythms, Gershwin’s sophisticated mastery of jazz harmonies and flowing chord progressions were ground breaking, and continue to be influential.
Hooray for Hollywood: Jumping from the New York Broadway scene to Los Angeles, we pay tribute to a host of classic movie themes arranged by Warren Barker. You will likely recognize most of these songs, but can you identify the movies that are associated with them? Selections include themes from Gone With The Wind, A Summer Place, Born Free, Days of Wine and Roses, Lawrence of Arabia, Casablanca, and more. Today, many of these movies remain as well known classics of earlier times, while others are largely forgotten, remembered mostly for their musical themes. How many can you recognize?
The Roman Carnival Overture, by Hector Berlioz: This fiery and exciting piece begins with a wild introduction that briefly introduces the main theme before abruptly transitioning into a lovely slow melody which sets a romantic mood. I imagine Berlioz portraying young couples anticipating a joyous and fun-filled carnival evening. Suddenly the mood shifts into the fast paced carnival itself. Here the energetic pace drives the music ever forward. There is no letup, no time for a break, just the frenetic perpetual motion of a wild carnival celebration.
Miss Trombone: Henry Fillmore is well known for his superb marches, including the classic patriotic march, Americans We, and the Klaxon march, performed on our concert last fall. When not writing marches, Fillmore, who was a trombonist, liked to write trombone features in which he delighted showcasing the unique abilities of the trombone afforded by its slide. Miss Trombone is a ragtime-style number filled with numerous glissandos, showing what a slippery-slidy instrument this can be. Warning: could this also tell us something about the practitioners of the instrument? As a trombonist myself, I dare say no more!
America, The Beautiful: This arrangement by Carmen Dragon of what is perhaps our most moving patriotic hymn, is unsurpassed for its beauty, elegance, and emotional fervor. As many times as I have played and conducted this piece, it has never become commonplace, and to this day a good performance has retained the power to send chills along my spine, just as it did the first time I played it during my high school days.
Nobles of the Mystic Shrine & Stars and Stripes Forever: In this concert we present two marches by John Philip Sousa. Sousa composed the first of these as a tribute to the Masons and Shriners organizations, of which he was a member, and incorporated several features in the music to give the march a sound reminiscent of the Shriner bands that were popular during his lifetime. In addition to relying on strong melodies with relatively little counterpoint accompaniment, he included the use of the triangle and tambourine among the percussion instruments. The Stars and Stripes Forever march is easily the best known and most popular of all American marches. What July 4 concert would be complete without it? This is our 24th consecutive July 4 presentation of this great march!
Notes by Steve Berg