Originally Published: November 15, 2018 9:46 p.m.
The Central Arizona Concert Band, under the direction of Maestro Clydene Dechert, returns to the stage of The Davis Learning Center at Embry-Riddle University on Sunday, November 18, with an outstanding program of classic and contemporary band music designed to delight a variety of tastes.
Ms. Dechert has chosen Ron LoPresti’s “Elegy For A Young American” as the Band’s tribute to the late Senator John McCain’s lifetime of service to the people of Arizona and the nation at large. In this work LoPresti has musically represented the various stages of mourning beginning with an adagio section in the clarinets that sets a tone of solemnity and respect. The mood gradually shifts, first to denial and then to anger as represented by the addition of the low brass and trombones and octave jumps in the melodic line. The shift continues as the intensity builds toward acceptance. The final section is a tribute to the accomplishments of a great statesman. Although written shortly after the death of John F. Kennedy, this piece stands as a fitting tribute to our senator.
Fans of Aaron Copland will be pleased to experience “A Copland Portrait” by Clare Grundman. Grundman created this piece in observance of Copland’s 85th birthday and showcases excerpts from the composer’s most popular works. The piece opens with a statement from “Fanfare for the Common Man,” featuring a brass and percussion interlude honoring the work of the common man during World War II. Grundman has also included a variation of the Common Man theme that Copland used in the finale to his “Third Symphony.” The ever popular “Rodeo” is represented by a short passage from “Saturday Night Waltz.” Next come several excerpts from Copland’s most popular work, “Appalachian Spring” and a conclusion featuring two additional pieces from “Rodeo,” “Buckaroo Holiday” and “Hoe Down.”
On the lighter side the Band will present selections from the Disney/Pixar movie, “Up.” This movie is a fantasy romp depicting the unlikely adventures of Carl Fredericksen, an elderly widower and retired balloon salesman who goes to the exotic jungles of South America by tying hundreds of helium filled balloons to his house. An overly helpful but not quite adept Boy Scout named Russell accompanies Carl on a variety of adventures. This medley, arranged by Michael Brown, opens with the song, “We’re in the Club Now,” followed shortly by “The Spirit of Adventure.” A brief latin rhythm introduces “Russell Likes a Fine Whine” before concluding with a reprise of “We’re in the Club.”
To round out the program and show off the versatility of the Band, Ms. Dechert has added Bob Turner’s “Shufflin Down To Memphis,” a jazz piece with notable drum set parts and featuring improvizations by the trombone and several of the saxaphones.
The concert venue is the Davis Learning Center on the campus of Embry-Riddle University, 3700 Willow Creek Road.Downbeat is at 3:00 pm. Open seating tickets are available on the website, www.centralarizonaconcertband.com or at the door. Admission is $12 for adults and $5 for students.
By Joe Cotten