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The 2018 Children’s Concert

The NOVA Alexandria Band performs at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center on March 1st, 2018 Photo by Britt Conley

And what a great night it was!

The Children’s Concert

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!

Nathan Evaristo delivers his concert notes. Photo by Britt Conley

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.”

Composer Robert Thurston! Photo by Britt Conley

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!  

Guest Trumpeter soloist, Dennis Edelbrock showed everyone what a trumpet can do! Photo by Britt Conley

“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!

Guest Trumpeter soloist, Dennis Edelbrock showed everyone what a trumpet can do! Photo by Britt Conley

“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!

A Simple Song from Mass by Leonard Bernstein and arranged by Michael Sweeney. Photo by Britt Conley

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.”

Gee, Officer Krupke from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein and arranged by Michael Sweeney. Photo by Britt Conley

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!

The NOVA Alexandria Band performs, The Fairest of the Fair by John Philip Sousa and arranged by Keith Brion and Loras Schissel. Photo by Britt Conley
The NOVA Alexandria Band performs, The Fairest of the Fair by John Philip Sousa and arranged by Keith Brion and Loras Schissel. Photo by Britt Conley

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.

The George Mason Elementary School Jazz Band, directed by Heather Rosner. Photo by Britt Conley

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.

The George Mason Elementary School Jazz Band, directed by Heather Rosner. Photo by Britt Conley

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.

The Student Winners for the Alexandria City Public Schools in the Visual and Performing Arts Categories of the National PTA Reflections Program. Photo by Britt Conley
The Student Winners for the Alexandria City Public Schools in the Visual and Performing Arts Categories of the National PTA Reflections Program. Photo by Britt Conley
The Student Winners for the Alexandria City Public Schools in the Visual and Performing Arts Categories of the National PTA Reflections Program. Photo by Britt Conley

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.

Middle Schoo Jazz Ensemble, directed by Richard Seracino. Photo by Britt Conley

They went on to play Sonny Henry’s “Evil Ways” and Shakey Ground by Alphonso Boyd, Eddie Hazel and Jeffrey Bowen.

Middle Schoo Jazz Ensemble, directed by Richard Seracino. Photo by Britt Conley
Middle Schoo Jazz Ensemble, directed by Richard Seracino. Photo by Britt Conley

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!

Grand Finale with the students and the Alexandria Band! Photo by Britt Conley

They began to get ready to perform “Chester by William Billings and arranged by Brad Pfeil.

Grand Finale with the students and the Alexandria Band! Photo by Britt Conley

Lisa prepared the piece.

Grand Finale with the students and the Alexandria Band! Photo by Britt Conley

Soon enough, It was time to tune! I believe that’s concert C…

Grand Finale with the students and the Alexandria Band! Photo by Britt Conley

And then the music began… what a great piece!

Grand Finale with the students and the Alexandria Band! Photo by Britt Conley

The students ended the night with “Sword Dance” and the crowd loved it!!!

Grand Finale with the students and the Alexandria Band! Photo by Britt Conley

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!”

Concert flyer for Broadway Celebrations!

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.

Jazz for Justice

and finally!

Our final concert of the season… The NOVA Alexandria Spring Concert: “Music from Around the Word!”

The Spring Concert!

Please consider liking our Facebook Page www.facebook.com/MusicAtNova

…and as always, we’d love to have you join our mailing list out in the lobby to get more information!

Post by Britt Conley, Administrative Admin for the music Department.