Tonight’s concert celebrates the Alexandria Band’s 45th Anniversary!!!
Everyone was so excited for the evening! Dr. Camphouse and Dr. Eckstein were so happy to meet with our Alexandria Provost, Dr. Haggray.
Tonight was a rare moment to bring the past to the present with an entire history of the band, set out in the foyer for all to enjoy. We begin with Dr. Robert Petrella, (aka “Dr. Bob”), who is the fouder and Director emeritus of the NOVA Alexandria Band. He founded the ensemble in 1977 with 17 members and directed the band for three decades. Now, the group has 70+ members. The band has performed at the Kennedy Center, George Washington Masonic Temple, The Old Post Office Pavilion and Georgetown University. Dr. Bob still participates in the band by playing in the clarinet section and occasionally guest contacting.
Our next director was Wendy Matthews! Dr. Wendy K. Matthews is an Associate Professor of Music Education at Kent State University. She holds degrees from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland-College Park, and George Mason University. Prior to joining the faculty at Kent State University, Dr. Matthews led the music department at Northern Virginia Community College as Assistant Dean and directed the Alexandria Campus Band, Orchestra, and Chamber Winds. Wendy directed the band between 2007 and 2012.
Currently, Lisa Eckstein (aka Dr. Ecks) is our Band Director.
Lisa is an Associate Professor Of Music, Band Director and College-wide Music Department Chair at Northern Virginia Community College. She teaches music theory, history and appreciation classes in addition to directing the band. Lisa is making her mark with collaborations with renowned professional musician and soloists from the Washington D.C. region. One of those collaborations will featured this evening with conductor and composer Mark Camphouse, who will be having his world premier of Valor and Remembrance.
Tonight we not only celebrate The NOVA Alexandria’s past and present, we also are featuring a historic hero, Doris Miller.
Our Provost opened the evening’s concert, speaking of Doris Miller and his history.
United States Navy Mess Attendant 2nd Class Class Miller was the first African American recipient of the Navy Cross for valor for his heroic actions on December 7, 1941 aboard the USS West Virginia.
Born in Waco, Texas on October 12, 1919, Miller enlisted in the Navy in September 1939 as a mess attendant. In 1941, African Americans were not allowed to man a gun in the Navy. In high school, Miller was a fullback, and on the West Virginia, He was the ship’s heavyweight boxing champion. Miller was collecting laundry on the West Virginia when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor began. According to U.S. navy records,
“He headed for his battle station, the anti-aircraft battery magazine amidship, only to discover that torpedo damage had wrecked it, so he went on deck. Because of his great physical strength, he was assigned to carry wounded fellow sailors to places of greater safety.. Then an officer ordered him to the bridge to aid the mortally wounded captain of the ship. Although never trained to operate a machine gun, Miller manned a .50 caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun until he ran out of ammunition and was ordered to abandon ship.”
We begin our concert with “Legends of the Galaxy, (A Cosmic Fanfare)” by Chandler L. Wilson, assistant Director of Athletic Bands and Assistant Professor of Music Education at Floria State University.
The World Premier of Mark Camphouse’s, “Valor and Remembrance”. The work honors U.S. Navy Mess Attendant 2nd Class Doris Miller, who was the first African American recipient of the Navy Cross, for his heroic actions aboard the USS West Virginia on December 7th, 1941 at Pearl Harbor.
Valor and Remembrance completes a trilogy of works by Camphouse honoring great African Americans: Civil Rights Heroine Rosa Parks (A Movement for Rosa), Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Homage to The Dream), and Pearl Harbor hero Doris Miller. It is hoped Valor and Remembrance will help promote great awareness of and appreciation for the heroic contributions by African Americans while serving in U.S. Armed Forces in the defense of freedom.
Second Suite in F for Military Band by Gustav Holst.
II. Song without Words
III Song of the Blacksmith
IV Fantasia on the Dragon.
Our founder, Dr. Bob, traded places with Dr. Ecks and guest conducted Jean Sibelius’ Finlandia.
Followed by a rousing Henry Filmore composition, The Orange Bowl. Dr. Bob, who currently also plays clarinet is so grateful to be able to continually perform with the Band.
Fantasy on an African American Spiritual.
Thank you for coming to celebrate our 45th Anniversary!!! What an amazing musical journey!
Those who were here enjoyed a post concert celebration with band. It was a wonderful opportunity to share our joy with everyone!
………………..and of course, there was cake!
Please join us again, this spring as we bring in 2023 with more music by all of the NOVA ensembles!