What an amazing night! Lisa Eckstein guided the band to new heights!
This year’s fall concert was shared between The NOVA Alexandria Band and the George Mason University Wind Symphony.
Dr. Kress, President of Northern Virginia Community College gave a wonderful introduction featuring all that we have been through over the pandemic and our resilience in moving forward.
Lisa Eckstein began the night with Shostakovich’s Festive Overture. The brass, and woodwinds were a flutter with regal soundings heralding out return to in person concerts!
This was followed by Jack Dusek’s NOVA Alexandria Fanfare, composed in 2021! Jack discussed his work before conducting his piece.
It’s an honor to hear our first live performance of our school’s fanfare! Jack did a wonderful job writing!
Our next treat was Samuel Hazzo’s Blue and Green Music, written in 2011. Dr. Lisa Eckstein explains, “The piece is based on Georgia O-Keepe’s painting by the same name. O’Keeffe wanted to depict what blue and green music might look like to her in painting and Sam Hazo wanted to write music that depicted what the title might suggest.”
In 1992, Mark Camphouse wrote a beautiful composition to commemorate Rosa Parks action and impact on America. He titled this, ‘A Movement for Rosa,’ which was conducted during evening by Lisa Eckstein. Camphouse provides a wonderful descriptive interview for the work at https://beta.prx.org/stories/7425. His words, and music both there and with our band are incredibly moving!
Matt Bandman followed with his composition, The Tattered Flag, written in 2021. Matt took the time to tell us about his work before conducting the heartfelt piece himself..
Our final work with the NOVA Alexandria Band was Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture! What a tremendous ending! A tremendous rousing climax to a moving first half for our ‘Collaborations’ Fall Band Concert!
After intermission we began with the George Mason University Wind Symphony under the direction of Mark Camphouse. Their first work, Air for Solo Flute Unaccompanied featured Samantha Clarke on flute. The piece was written by Catherine Fields in 2000.
The second work, Olympica was written in 1992 by Jan Van der Roost. The festival overture is beautifully orchestrated and, ”
This “Grand Overture” was originally, “commissioned by the “Nagano Community Band” – Japan- on occasion of its jubilee in 1992 and is dedicated to the band’s conductor, Ikuo Inagaki.The work is based upon three main themes, each symbolising a certain theme. The first part is characterized by its bright themes played mainly by the brass, accompanied by the woodwinds and festive percussion. This part symbolizes the jubilee which is the origin of the composition. This is followed by a bouncing allegro, in which each register of the band displays brilliant techniques. Especially the woodwinds come to the fore! This movement depicts the industriousness and enthousiasm shown by the members of the “Nagano Community Band” in the carrying out of their hobby. A third, main theme, is choral-like in character and is displayed both in the (soft) brass as well as in the warm medium register of the reeds. Here, nature’s beaty in and around the city of Nagano is musically celebrated. Following a “chamber-music episode” (featuring the flute, oboe, clarinet, alto-saxophone and horn) the initial allegro re-occurs, weaving its way towards a grandiose finale, in which the two previous themes are once again apparent. Due to its very colourful scoring and the enormous diversity of musical thoughts and ideas, this composition is a fascinating and memorable piece, worthy a jubilee overture!” according to the Jan van der Roost website where you can diver far deeper into his works, recordings and biography. https://www.janvanderroost.com/en/work/48/olympica-festival-overture-for-band-concert-band-1993
For the third piece Mark Camphouse brought us another of his compositions, “Watchman, Tell us of the Night, written in 1994, which he explained was, “A musical tribute to the survivors of child abuse and neglect. Commissioned by the St. Louis Youth Wind Ensemble.”
This was followed by Peter Graham’s, The Red Machine, A whirlwind of busy mechanical functions. The work was originally commissioned by the London-based Regimental Band.
Guest conductor, Samatha Clarke directed the ensemble for Psalm, written in 1953 by Vincent Perischetti. A beautifully sonorous work, it beautifully resonates between the brass and winds.
Our final work of the evening, Samuel Barber’s Commando March was directed by faculty guest conductor Dr. Soo Han. A wonderful work rhythmically opened by the snare drum, eventually opening up further into a highly festive march.
It was a wonderful concert! Congratulations to everyone on a tremendous evening!
Please join us for our next concert, “Joy to the World, A Holiday Concert on December 7th.
JOIN US! December 7th for our NOVA Alexandria, Holiday Concert: Joy to the World. Invite your friends, family and colleagues! It’s Free!
On Thursday, Oct. 28, the NOVA Alexandria Band will perform in a joint concert with the George Mason University Wind Symphony in the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center on the NOVA Alexandria Campus. Come hear staples in the band repertoire, including two pieces by composer and conductor Mark Camphouse. The GMU Wind Symphony will be premiering a new composition by Catherine Fields that will feature flutist soloist, Samantha Clarke. The NOVA band is featuring two new original compositions by community members who play in the band, Matt Bandman and Jack Dusek, and a new arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture by NOVA student, Charles Stolpe. Here are the concert details…
Admission and parking: FREE (Donations will be accepted.)
Address: Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center, 4915 East Campus Drive, Alexandria, VA 22311
Audience members will be required to wear masks and socially distance.
The air filtration system in the concert hall is excellent. Please come and join us!
The NOVA Alexandria Band, The George Mason Elementary School Jazz Band, The Amati Orchestra (6th grade) of Francis C. Hammond Middle School and Area School Band and Orchestra Students!
With baton raised, our band director Lisa Ecksetin, began the evening with March of the Resistance by John Williams, (from Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Brian Jones, one of featured artists for the evening, joined the band for Artie Shaw’s Concerto for Clarinet. He is incredible!
Dr. Jones has served on the faculty of NVCC Alexandria since 2009. He moved to Washington, D.C. in 1992 after winning a position with The Unit- ed States Air Force Band. During his tenure there, he was invited by the Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor to perform Leonard Bernstein’s Sonata for Clarinet at the U.S. Supreme Court in a recital honoring the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Dr. Jones authored seven articles for The Instrumentalist magazine, presented at the 2007 Virginia MENC conference, and performed at the international ClariFest in 2008. In addition to teaching at NVCC, he serves on the faculty of the Levine School of Music, and has been a member of the 257th Army Band, “The Band of the Nation’s Capital” since 2002. Currently the First Sergeant of that organization, he was the conductor of that Band from 2013-2018, and served as acting commander for eighteen months. He hold degrees from Catholic University (DMA), Baylor University (MM), and Florida State University (BME) and his teachers include Sidney Forrest, Richard Shanley, and Frank Kowalsky.
Brian was followed by the famed Denny Edelbrock on Trumpet, performing Excursions for Trumpet and Band by Bruce Broughton.
Dr. Dennis Edelbrock is described by the Washington Post as having “incredible technique” and performing with “reckless abandon,” Dennis Edelbrock has had a performing career spanning 48 states and 14 foreign countries. As a member of the U.S. Army Band and the Army Brass Quintet for 35 years, he was tasked with performing and producing White House concerts and internationally televised historical events including presidential state funerals and inaugurations, as well as international Olympic events. He was awarded the Legion of Merit by the U.S. Army in 2010.
In recent years, he has performed with the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballets, the New York Metropolitan Opera, and has recorded with the National Symphony Orchestra. He has performed in other internationally televised events such as those at the Kennedy Center where he was featured as soloist in Messiah for the world’s first webcast, Opening Ceremonies for Olympic Games, and shows as varied as NBC’s Today Show and NPR’s Prairie Home Companion. As a soloist, he has been featured in films as varied as Contact, Wag the Dog, Gardens of Stone, and in Steven Spielberg’s film Lincoln (Dreamworks 2013), which garnered several academy awards. He has given masterclasses all over the world including at the prestigious St. Petersburg and Moscow Conservatories, as well as at Central Beijing University.
The Band’s final piece featured a world premier from our very own Nathan Pereda. Nathan is a student at nova and received a commission from an anonymous donor to perform at this concert.
Nathan Piece, Le’oria, the City of Music has three movements.
I. The Royal Reception and Dance
II. Merluna’s Charm
III. Dance in the Moonlight
Congratulations to Nathan and the NOVA Alexandria Band on a wonderful performance!
And how phenomenal was the work? A standing ovation was had!
Following intermission, The Amati Orchestra (6th Grade) of Francis C. Hammond Middle School, took to the stage under the direction of Veronica Jackson.
The kids performed Bohemian Folk Song, (a traditional round), Mark William’s Sailor Song and Soon Hee Newbold’s Russian Music Box.
The George Mason Elementary School Jazz Band followed with The Blues is Loose by Victoria Lopez, Blues in Hoss’ Flat by Frank Foster and Count Basie and I Got Rhythm by George Gershwin.
For the grand finale began with a combined performance of school children from area elementary and middle schools with the NOVA Alexandria Band performing, Ode to Joy by Ludwig van Beethoven, in celebration of Beethoven’s 250th Birthday Year.
The grand finale’s participating teachers and schools include:
Participating Teachers: Danielle Brosious Eun-Jin Chae Kimberly Hess Erin Flynn-Pace Veronica Jackson Paul Norris Heather Rosner Richard Seracino Laura Torchia and Dawn Wilson
Participating Schools: Charles Barrett Elementary Francis C. Hammond Middle Matthew Maury Elementary Douglas MacArthur Elementary George Mason Elementary George Washington Middle Swanson Middle and Tuckahoe Elementary
The final piece of the evening was another world premier! Champion by Nathan Pareda.
An amazing night was had by all and hats off to all the musicians!
Please see our concert schedule for updates on all our future concerts!
The Holiday spirit was out in full force for our 2019 Holiday Collage Concert!
The evening began with The Northern Virginia Sax Quartet performing carols in the lobby.
A lovely beginning to a festive evening.
The main concert hall showcased the NOVA Community Chorus, The NOVA Nighthawks Jazz Ensemble and the NOVA Alexandria Band.
The Chorus fired up the main concert with Personent Hodie, accompanied by a brass and percussion ensemble featuring Isabella Lowe & Josh Menez, trumpets; Margaret Forman, French horn; Ameer Yaqoob, trombone; Cristian Condor, tuba; and Tyler Brantley and Mayson Rangel on Percussion.
Tonight was bittersweet, since it was the final concert for Choral Director, Jessica Irish. She has had a truly memorable time with the Chorus this past semester and we were lucky to have her!
The Chorus followed with There Shall a Star (from “Christus”) by Felix Mendelssohn. and Winter’s Peace highlighting the Semi-Chorus: Halina Banas-Jones, Alan Bunner, Sarah Calvino, Larry Goldschmidt, Diane Halvorsen, Lock Handley, Laura Hanson, Jane Michaels, Casey Stucliffe and Neo Upod.
Chorus fans rejoiced after Ding, Dong! Merrily on High! featuring Jane Tavernier, second accompanist for four-hand piano and Mayson Ragel on chimes.
Meanwhile The NOVA Nighthawks Jazz Ensemble were gearing up for their holiday extravaganza! They performed four works, beginning with The Little Drummer Boy…
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,
The set ended with Greensleeves (What Child is This?) and Comfort and Joy.
A special intermission, shout out to those who came to the concert including our wonderful students, the community and friends and families!
The final half of the concert featured the NOVA Alexandria Band! performing A Christmas Fantasy, Gloria, Away in a Manger, Dreidel Dance and Sleight Ride….
Harpist Brian Stevenson, out quest artist for the evening stole the show and beautifully filled the hall with the lush sounds of strings.
I personally adore the hat’s so many band member adorn each holiday for the concert.
Best hat of the night? Well, I think it’s obvious!
This year’s concert was dedicated to our NOVA students and families. We wanted to thank them for their sacrifices to make it through school and onto the next chapter in the lives. To help give back to them, we held a free ticketed give-a-way for NOVA students. The prizes included: a $50. gift certificate to Ristorante Il Porto in Old Town Alexandria, a $50. gift certificate to Faccia Luna, also in Old Town Alexandria, a 15% off certificate to the Barnes’ and Noble Book Store and two bags of NOVA merchandise from Student Life!!!!
Our excited winners had some great prizes!
It was nice to see so many happy faces!
The Band’s final piece of the night was an audience singalong featuring Joy to the World, It Came Upon and Midnight Clear and Adeste Fidelis (O come all ye faithful)
The evening ended with a huge round of applause for the Band, the audience, the NOVA Nighthawks and The Chorus!!!! What a fun-filled evening.
Let’s hear for the Music Department’s 2019′, done well!!!! Happy Holidays everyone and Happy New Year!!!!!
Please come to our next concerts, this Spring!
In our AFA- building in room 118, (our recital hall) we Dmitri Steinberg coming at 7:30pm on Tuesday February 12th.
February 27th is the famed Children’s Concert for families and the community. A lot of fun! The Rachel M. Schlesinger Hall.
March 11th is the next Chorus Concert at The Rachel M. Schlesinger Hall.
5pm on April 15th in the AFA building 118 recital hall will be District 5 Wind Quintet.
and finally… The big Spring Concert feauturing All of the NOVA Ensembles will be at 7:30, may 8th at The Rachel M. Schlesinger Hall!
This year’s NOVA Jazz Night at The Carlyle Club in Alexandria, Virginia was a treat! The evening’s theme was Swing Revival tunes from the 1990’s featuring music from famous by bands including, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Lou Bega, and the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.
The first jazz combo, Baby Shark Jazz Quintet, an ode to the Nationals recent World Series Win, performed:
My Favorite Things, Barbados and Equinox.
The second quartet, The Downstairs Guys performed, Black Orpheus, Baby Why? (original), St. Thomas and Mr. P.C.
Our third Jazz combo, the Are You Serious? performed Four Brothers and Triste.
The evening ended with The NOVA Nighthawks Jazz Ensemble performing a wonderful set list including:
Go Daddy-O, Hey Pachuco, As Long As I’m Singing (vocal), Yellow Days (vocal), Mambo No. 5, Jump, Jive, and Wail, Route 66 (vocal), Zoot Suit Riot, and Rock This Town.
What a wonderful response! A great night had by all!
Our Next NOVA concert will be at 8:00pm, December 10th at The Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall! JOY TO THE WORLD! A Holiday College Concert featuring the NOVA Community Chorus, The Nighthawkes Jazz Ensemble and the NOVA Community Band!
Our music department wrapped up our semester with our 2019 spring concert! Friday, May 3, 2019 from 8-10pm.
It was a historic night for a couple of reasons. First, It was the final performance with a amazing chorus director, Chad Steffey. Chad has spend the past couple of years working with our chorus and helping build a new chapter in the chorus history with wonderfully fun Broadway reviews and bringing in fantastic guest singers.
The chorus gathered in the concert hall foyer to help send him off in style. Hugs, gifts and a massive round of applause.
The NOVA Community Chorus began the night with The Music of Living by Dan Forrest, followed by Selections from Old American Songs, Bring Me Little Water, Silvy, by Huddie Ledbetter, Cape Cod Girls, a traditional Sea Shanty and Ain’-a That Good News! by William Dawson.
The NOVA Nighthawks Jazz Ensemble picked up a jazzy set, with Maiden Voyage, by Herbie Hancock, Whisper Not by Benny Golson, Moment’s Notice by John Coltrane and Senor Mouse by Chick Corea.
Lisa Eckstein treated the audience by opening the band set with Mark Camphouse’s Air Mobility Command March.
Then the band provided a stunning performance of Nathan Pereda’s Starless Night.
Nathan’s piece offered a wonderful set of antiphonal trumpets that brought such beauty to the hall. The piece was extraordinary!
The band finished the evening with Xerxes by John Mackey and African Symphony by Van McCoy.
Everyone LOVED it all
Another great season coming to the close, but we’ll be back in the fall with more music!
What a night!!! A collaborative evening featuring The NOVA Alexandria Band, The George Mason University Wind Symphony, special guest french horn soloist Kat Fitzpatrick and two wonderful works by our very own student composers, Matthew Bandman and Nathan Pereda.
The NOVA Alexandria Band is a community band and mixes musicians of all ages and backgrounds.
Matthew Bandman took the time to explain his new composition Roses of Galante. What a wonderful work!
Matthew Bandman’s Roses of Galante being performed by the Alexandria Band. What a lovely piece!
Soloist Kate Fizpatrick, from the Air Force Ceremonial Brass, joined the band for Moreceau de concert by Camille Saint-Saens.
Kate has also performed with the Airmen of Note and spent 17 years with the Air Force Band.
Ashley Begley performing Shepherd’s Hey by Percy Grainger
After intermission, Mark Camphouse and the George Mason Wind Symphony began their program with the house standing during The Star-Spangled Banner by John Stafford Smith.
They performed Festive by Edward Gregson, Be Thou My Vision by David Gillingham, March Militaire Francaise by Camille Saint-Saens and Rolling Thunder by Henry Fillmore. The most amazing work of their night, however was “Remembering the Many” by Justin David Casinghino. His work is a, “reflection on the atrocities of mass gun violence in our American schools.” What an incredibly stunning work.
Mark’s Bio is more than impressive! Here are some highlights, 2018-19, marks, Mark Camphouse’s 41st year of full-time teaching in higher education. He is the director of Concert Bands, conductor of the GMU Wind Symphony and a full faculty member for Music there as well.
Camphouse has 30 published works for wind band and performs around the U.S. and abroad in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Symphony Center in Chicago, the royal Albert Hall in London and many more. Overall, he has served as guest conductor, lecturer, and clinician in 43 states and in Canada, Europe, China and Costa Rica. We are so pleased to have him collaborate and share the stage with us.
The final performance of the night, combined the GMU Wind Symphony and the NOVA Alexandria Band for a work that knocked us off our feet! Perseverance by Nathan Pereda.
Nathan is another student composer who created a work about persevering through depression and getting through life.
I can’t even begin to express how good this piece was. Well, You can hear it for yourself! I’ll be adding Matthew’s work as soon as I get that! In the mean time, Here’s Nathan!
Combined George Mason University Wind Symphony and the NOVA Alexandria Band. Lisa Eckstein, conductor
The standing ovation was immediate! What an incredible night!!!
Mark Camphouse let our student composers know how wonderful their works were.
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Our next Holiday Concert will be at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall on Thursday December 11th from 8:00 – 10pm.
Our next event here at the school is a concert/master class by famed vibraphonist Jon Metzger. He is coming for our recital series at our Music Department Recital Hall in room 118 at the Center for Design Media and the Arts at our Alexandria Campus, right up the hill from the Schlesinger Concert Hall.
Additionally, please consider coming to our Recital Series below
Also please consider coming to spend an evening at the Carlyle Club, Nov. 5: with our NOVA Jazz Ensemble Night, 7:30-9:30pm, Carlyle Club in Alexandria, (tickets & food minimum required).
Thursday, Nov. 8: Air Force Band Wind Quintet Concert, 7:30-9:30pm, the Lyceum in Alexandria. Come hear the world premiere of a piece by NOVA faculty member, Dr. Jonathan Kolm, commissioned by the Air Force Band Quintet.
Tuesday, Dec. 4: NOVA Student Jazz Combos Recital, 7:30-9pm, AFA Black Box Theater in the Center for Design, Media and the Arts – Room 103 in the Foyer.
Wednesday, Dec. 5: NOVA Student Chamber Ensembles Recital, 5:30-7pm, AFA Room 118 – Recital Hall for the Music Department, in the Center for Design, Media and the Arts.
Friday, Dec. 7: NOVA Student Piano Recital, 7:30-9pm, AFA Room 118 – Recital Hall for the Music Department, in the Center for Design, Media and the Arts.
Saturday, Dec. 8: NOVA Student Instrumental Recital, 2-3:30pm, AFA Room 118 – Recital Hall for the Music Department, in the Center for Design, Media and the Arts.
Saturday, Dec. 8: NOVA Student Voice Recital, 5-6:30pm, AFA Room 118 – Recital Hall for the Music Department, in the Center for Design, Media and the Arts.
Sunday, Dec. 9: Crystal Williams Cello Recital, 3-4pm, AFA Room 118 – Recital Hall for the Music Department, in the Center for Design, Media and the Arts.
It’s not easy to move a massive band around town, but Band Director Lisa Eckstein is always undaunted! Saturday she procured a truck and packed everything up and met the students in Del Ray, in Alexandria, for a wonderful community concert! It was phenomenal!!!
Concert Band performed…
Overture for Winds by Charles Carter
Red Rock Mountain by Rossano Galante
Roses of Galante by NOVA alumnus Matthew Bandman
Carnival of Venice by Herbert Clarke featuring NOVA band euphonium player, Michael Brooke
Perseverance by NOVA student, Nathan Pereda
Shepherd’s Hey by Percy Grainger
Washington Post March by John Philip Sousa
Playing outdoors is a whole other experience. Sound often travels away toward the audience and doesn’t bounce back well. You’d never know by how in step everyone was.
The pieces were fun, energized and filled the festival!
The band was not the only NOVA group to play! Our Jazz Band followed Lisa’s amazing performance. Our director of Jazz Studies, John Kocur was quick to set the space and add some chairs for a whole new audience!
The ensemble performed a variety of works…
“Zip-Ah-Dee-Doo-Dah” by Ray Gilbert and Allie Wrubel
“Flirtibird” by Duke Ellington (from Anatomy of A Murder)
“Call Me Irresponsible” by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen
“Soul Bossa Nova” by Quincy Jones
“Every Day” by Memphis Slim
“You’re Welcome” by Lin-Manuel Miranda
The Nighthawks Jazz Ensemble is a community Jazz Band. It brings students together, with community musicians, for a wealth of knowledge and learning for everyone. If you’d like to consider joining the ensemble, contract John Kocur at Jkocur@nvcc.edu
The band mainly performs at the Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center and various community concerts. The Next Nighthawks Jazz performance will be at the Carlyle Club!
Monday, November 5, 2018
7:30 – 9:30pm
The Carlyle Club
2050 Ballenger Ave, Alexandria, VA 22314
Come on down for a GREAT night of Jazz in an amazing club, right here in Alexandria!
Our NOVA Knighthawks Jazz Ensemble rocked the house with Afro Blue, Tico Tico and Manteca.
They knocked our socks off!!!!!!!
Jazz Director, John Kocur, has been working with the ensemble all semester and boy did they shine!
The NOVA Community Chorus followed with Ride on, King Jesus. Choral Director Chad Steffey and our accompanist Anita Ferguson have supported the Choir all year. The Chorus was lovely; every piece.
Ralph Vaughan Williams, O’ Clap Your Hands was conducted by Lisa Eckstein.
John Kocur accompanied the Chorus’ Evening Prayer on his soprano Saxophone. It was truly a stunningly beautiful piece.
The NOVA Alexandria Band did four works:
Puszta: Four Gipsy Dances, Danzon No. 2, Viva Italia! and Berstein’s Mambo.
One of the best moments of the night were the student awards. The Billy Award, named after Bill Bovender was awarded to Judy Bendig. The Betty Award was awarded to Elizabeth Todd.
But that wasn’t the only great moment. We also had Anthony Maiello, The Artistic Director and Conductor of the American Festival Pops Orchestra and Artistic Director of the School of Music at George Mason.
His Accordion performance on Viva Italia was a show stopper!
We were incredibly lucky to have him.
A phenomenal concert! We look forward to seeing you all next Fall, for our 2018/19 season! Until then, our students have recitals, juries and exams to contend with, and thanks to those who donated at our concerts this year, they have incredible opportunities ahead!
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Blog Post by Brit Conley: Assistant to the Music Department.
The 2018 Children’s Concert with the NOVA Alexandria Band, with special guest trumpeter Dennis Edelbrock, The George Mason Elementary School Jazz Band, The George Washington Middle School Jazz Ensemble, The Alexadria City Public Schools Student Finalists in the National PTA Reflections Program and the Area School Band and Orchestra Students!
Nathan Evaristo was kind enough to do the concert notes!
According the Nathan, the first performance of the night, ““Esprit de Corp”. It was written by an illustrious, modern composer named Robert Jager who has written pieces for the greatest and most esteemed bands around the entire world. This piece was written for the President’s Own Marine Corps Band, a group consisting of some of the world’s finest musicians who perform and record regularly right here on this very stage. The definition of “Esprit de Corps” is a spirit of pride, fellowship, and common loyalty…that the US Marine Corps embodies.
In this piece, you will hear layers of sound. For example, in the beginning, after the PUNCH of an entrance, you’ll hear a fast, fluttery flute and xylophone melody, and then enters a dancing saxophone part. After that, a fanfare in the trumpets is added. This is all within the first few measures of the piece. The piece is like legos of musical sounds building a beautiful skyscraper! If you listen closely, you may even catch a short quote from the Marines’ Hymn.”
In case you didn’t know, the DC Metro area is an excellent place to be if you’re into the music scene. There are a great deal of professional ensembles and renowned orchestras, bands, and virtuosos. There are even brilliant, accomplished composers that live in the area. Well, we’ve had the pleasure and honor of working with one of these composers for this very concert! Retired Chief-Arranger and Composer of the United States Air Force Bands, his name is Robert Thurston, and what he has written here is a delightfully innocent, soaring song called Across the Clouds. It features a solo trumpet part that’s… well, let’s just say that “it isn’t for the faint of heart.” That would be putting it lightly!
And on trumpet tonight, we have trumpet phenomenon Dr. Dennis Edelbrock! Dr. Edelbrock teaches trumpet at the George Mason University and has an extensive expanse of musical accomplishments and involvements!
“I have found that if I close my eyes, and try to focus only on my sense of hearing, this piece really does evoke the feelings of flying, soaring above the landscape, through the clouds. Fitting for a retired Air-Force Composer! So with great pleasure… Across the Clouds!”
Denny is a master at his instrument and knows how to bring the house down!
“we–along with many musicians around the world–are participating in a movement to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth in 1918. Leonard Bernstein was a true Renaissance man. He was a leading activist and humanist, a brilliant musician and pianist, conductor, composer, and perhaps most importantly, a world-class teacher. And I mean WORLD CLASS. This man went through nearly the entire history of music, at a piano, in 5 minutes, on live TV…. Yeah! Exactly! It’s still on YouTube!
So, Bernstein… He started and popularized the Young People’s Concerts series. Now, as you can imagine, Bernstein was incredibly passionate about what he did. And I have always believed that the best teachers inspire students with positive displays of their own passion. And this man was absolutely no exception. In fact, his very first year directing the Young People’s Concert in 1958, it became the first series of concerts ever nationally televised from the Lincoln Performing Arts center where it was hosted, and those concerts have inspired people in every single generation ever since! I could go on and on all night about Bernstein, but I would risk turning this into the droning speeches in between pieces that most people can’t stand so I won’t do that… but seriously… Bernstein was a brilliant man!
That brings us to these next two program selections for the “Bernstein at 100” celebration. The first is a simple and beautiful, relaxing piece from his Mass called “A Simple Song,” and the second is the rousing “Gee, Officer Krupke” from West Side Story.”
We’d like to finish the NOVA Band portion of this concert with one final piece! Have you all ever heard of the March King? The American born King of March–John Phillip Sousa!! Oooffff course you have! Well, this next piece is titled The Fairest of the Fair, which he wrote for the Boston Food Fair in 1908. As the story goes, one day, Mr. Sousa was at one of the many fairs he attended, and he saw a beautiful woman. And not just any beautiful woman. Apparently, she was absurdly, crazy gorgeous. SO much so that he was inspired to write an entire march for this fair lady. This march in fact. And this was the only piece he wrote that entire year. And considering we’re talking about somebody who wrote 137 marches in his lifetime… that’s saying something!
Before we knew it, it was time for The George Mason Elemtary School Jazz Band to take the stage! The band director, Heather Rosner is just incredible. She had them up and ready to go in no time.
What is not to love about these kids! They began their set with Duke Ellington’s C-Jam Blues, with was arranged by Rick Stitzel.
Their final piece was Ellington again! Satin Doll, arranged by Michael Sweeney.
Next up were the Student Winners from the Alexandria City Public Schools in the Visual and Performing Arts Categories of the National PTA Reflections Program.
They even announced the winner that made it to the State round!!!
After a huge round of applause for these incredibly talented kids, we welcomed the George Washington Middle Schoo Jazz Ensemble, directed by Richard Seracino.
They began the set with Sugar by Stanley Turrentine, which was arranged by Mark Taylor.
They went on to play Sonny Henry’s “Evil Ways” and Shakey Ground by Alphonso Boyd, Eddie Hazel and Jeffrey Bowen.
After a great set, it was time for the big Grand Finale which combines our performing school children from area elementary and middle schools with the NOVA Alexandria Band!
They began to get ready to perform “Chester by William Billings and arranged by Brad Pfeil.
Lisa prepared the piece.
Soon enough, It was time to tune! I believe that’s concert C…
And then the music began… what a great piece!
The students ended the night with “Sword Dance” and the crowd loved it!!!
We also want to personally thank the Oaktones Jazz Quartet for providing the pre-concert music in the lobby!!! I will try to track down a photo. They included:
Carly Gabriel, violin
Sebastian Villa, alto Sax
Kieran O’Shaughnessy, tenor sax
Alexander Gabriel, piano
and Robert Gabriel, director.
Also check out Bob Thurston’s website at http://www.bobthurston.com
Please come to our next concert! Tuesday, March 20th from 7:30-9:00pm. Please join the NOVA Community Chorus for ‘ALL BROADWAY MUSIC!”
and consider joining our Jazz Ensembles for JAZZ FOR JUSTICE! Thursday, March 22nd with a pre-concert jam in the lobby begining at 6:00pm. Concert begins at 7:30.
Our final concert of the season… The NOVA Alexandria Spring Concert: “Music from Around the Word!”