Melodious Marches

On Sunday afternoon, Cochran Chapel resonated with the dramatic and enticing melodies of the Phillips Academy Band. Three groups, the Academy Brass Ensemble, L’insieme di Martedi Sera, and the Academy Concert Band performed a variety of pieces by talented composers ranging from Praetorius to Sousa. The Academy Brass Ensemble’s performance featured exciting contrast between smooth rhythms and lively melodies. The first piece, “Es ist ein’Ros Entsprugen” by Michael Praetorius, featured a soothing melody and a beat reminiscent of a kingly march. The musicians played an exhilarating rendition of “The Ash Grove,” a traditional Welsh melody. Executed perfectly, the song made audience members feel as if they were taking a stroll in the highlands. The ensemble’s final piece, “Two Ayre for Cornets and Sagbuts,” was composed of two allegro movements that complemented each other flawlessly. Exciting and jolly, the upbeat tempos of the songs brought smiles to the faces of the audience. Ending with a grand crescendo, The Academy Brass Ensemble ended with a grand crescendo and powerful chord, leaving an extraordinary final impression. Next L’insieme di Martedi Sera took the stage, performing “A Percy Grainger Suite,” by Percy Grainger. Each of the three separate pieces in the suite had its own distinct mood. “Country Gardens,” the first piece in the suite, began with a triumphant marching tune. The different sections of the band passed around cheerful melodies. The second piece, “Irish Tune from Country Derry,” had a somber, mourning quality. It offered a peaceful, relaxed atmosphere until dramatic drumbeats brought the song to a dramatic close. The third piece in the suite, “Molly on the Shore,” had a steady beat and dynamic variety. Jess Gammon ’14 said, “ ‘Molly on the Shore’ was my favorite piece of the concert because the melody was exciting and I’ve heard it before.” The quick melody and playful rhythms made “Molly on the Shore” a delight to hear. L’insieme di Martedi Sera’s final selection, “Syncopated Clock,” by Leroy Anderson, was one of the most crowd-pleasing pieces of the concert. Constant ticking conveyed the feeling of being stuck in an old clock. The percussionists added lively rhythm to the piece. The peppy melody and syncopated beats warmed the hearts of the audience. Elaine Chao ’14 said, “My favorite piece was the ‘Syncopated Clock’ because the clicking of the clock was really funny.” Short and sweet melodies interspersed with the staccato ticking made the piece extremely fun. Performing last, The Academy Concert Band played a variety of pieces that showed off the talents of each of the instrumentalists. “First Suite in E flat for Military Band,” by Gustav Holst, surprised the audience with unexpected crescendos and rolling melodies. The piece was reminiscent of a triumphant march after a battle. “I liked the rhythm and the part where the oboes carried the melody,” said Neil Simister, a parent of a band member. The final performance of the afternoon, “The Liberty Bell” by John Philip Sousa, was distinctly American. Its glorious marching melody and rhythm transported the Chapel back to the Revolutionary War. Loud percussion and repeated note patterns made the piece hard to forget. The variety of the music and upbeat rhythms made the Phillips Academy Band Concert a fun way to relax on a Sunday afternoon. The concert was a testament to the talent and hard work of the instrumentalists at Andover.