Concert Band Gets

It is time for the PA music scene to wind down after a fabulous year of shows, concerts, and recitals. The final band concert of the year took place last Friday and was marked by much improvement from all the groups that performed. The traditional Senior awards given by Instructor of Music Vincent Monaco were also included in the show. The night began with the Academy Brass Ensemble, directed by Instructor of Music Robin Milinazzo. As usual, this group proved their skill, playing “Sonata” from Die Bänkelsängerlieder by an anonymous composer. A perfect balance between the tuba’s low bass line and the melodies of the horns made this piece a dessert for the ears as the brass players displayed their great skill in performing it. Emphasis on the tonic and dominate, coupled with the continuous mezzo forte dynamic, gave movement to the piece and made it even more interesting. The Academy Brass Ensemble put in a wonderful performance. The next group, L’Insieme Di Martedi Sera (Tuesday Night Band,) directed by Monaco, showed much improvement from its shakier performances at the beginning of the year as the group executed two pieces almost flawlessly. The first one, “Courtly Festival,” arranged by Philip Gordon, floated between beautiful rising and falling melodies as the entire band was accompanied by a loud trumpet fanfare. The piece sounded quite stately and royal with its clear beat, which every instrumentalist managed to keep. This piece was glorious and got many loud claps of appreciation from the audience. “Serenade for Band” by Vincent Persichetti was the next piece played by L’Insieme. This piece, with its many dissonances and eerie undertones, was reminiscent of Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” and it had various sections that each had its own character and emotion. For example, “Humoresk,” the second movement, was sprightly and unpredictable due to its random toots from the tubas. Careful dissonances also contributed to the fairy-like sound and gave the piece a ghostly air. On the other hand, the “Nocturne” section was quieter, smoother, and simply peaceful. It had a slow, weighted melody that gave the impression of remembrance. As always, L’Insieme Di Martedi Sera put in a great amount of effort, which showed in their final execution and performance of this piece, especially in the “Nocturne” movement. As band member Maria Lechtarova ’06 said, “Coming to band rehearsal and looking forward to playing music with my eyes half shut and my last energies draining as I played from my instrument was difficult, but the ‘Nocturne’ was the one movement that washed over our exhausted senses to replenish them with the fervor of the composer.” The final group to perform was the Academy Concert Band, directed by Monaco. “Jupiter, the bringer of jollity” by Gustav Holst was first in the Concert Band’s set. This was an eclectic piece whose many triangle noises and fast melodies of the clarinets contributed to its extra-terrestrial feeling. Although all sections executed their difficult melodies with perfect changes in dynamic, “Jupiter” was most remarkable because of the clear enjoyment the entire band showed as they played. Morissa Sobelson ’05 said she loved the piece “because we played another one of [Holst’s] works last year and it was a really fun musical experience. We begged Mr. Monaco to let us play another of [Holst’s] compositions. It was a good challenge.” The night closed with “Lassus Trombone” by Henry Fillmore, which gave the trombone section a chance to shine. The trombones played slide after slide with perfect precision. Overall this performance was fantastic, a perfect year-end closer for these exceptional and constantly improving bands. The PA community can certainly look forward to next year’s performances.