Academy Concert Bands Thread American History with Andover through Classical Pieces

With a singular powerful tune, Andie Pinga ’19 performed a saxophone solo to Frank Tichelli’s version of “Amazing Grace.” Alongside Pinga, the The Academy Ensemble Band performed calm yet expressive background melodies. The piece built up with louder, more powerful themes before ending with a slow hold of notes.

“I was excited for [this piece] because I had a two bar solo and I’ve never really had solos here before. It was really peaceful, and started off the concert well,” said Pinga.

This piece was one of nine performances during the Academy Concert Bands in Concert last Friday at Cochran Chapel. The Academy Ensemble Band, L’ Insieme Di Martedi Sera, and The Academy Concert Band all performed.

Played by L’ Insieme Di Martedi Sera, “Nathan Hale Trilogy” by James Curnow opened with a heavy, grand melody enhanced by various drum patterns as backup. The three movements flowed between strong, distinct rhythms to slower, more calming melodies. The trilogy ended abruptly as conductor Peter Cirelli, Music Department Chair, signaled a sharp cutoff with his baton.

“I just liked that the [Nathan Hale Trilogy] was kind of a witty choice for Andover. The title was witty,” said Susan Lee ’19, a flutist. “It was a fun piece, and it’s set up in movements, and I really liked that it was basically like three little pieces shoved into one, and it was really cool.”

A highlight of the evening was “Abe Lincoln — Gettysburg, 1863” by Don Gillis. Performed by The Academy Ensemble Band, the piece featured alternating dynamics, while Kaitlin Kan ’18 recited the entire Gettysburg Address on top of the music. With sluggish, calming chords, the band swelled to a powerful forte in time with Kan’s speech as she spoke louder and more expressive towards the end.

“Kaitlin went up in a top hat and a blazer, and she read the Gettysburg Address while we were playing music behind her… I really thought that Kaitlin did a really good job vocalizing her piece, and even though I was pretty worried about that one I think we pulled it off pretty well and it was a pretty significant part of our [performance],” said Pinga.

To close the evening, the Academy Concert Band performed “Voyage”, a piece composed by Maita Y. Eyzaguirre ’14. Beginning with a leisurely, moving melody, the music jumped into a faster, more pronounced rhythm. The remainder of the piece contained a mixture of both lethargic, suspenseful themes and rapid, faced-paced melodies.

“We had around three or four rehearsals and it was a pretty long piece so putting it together and getting everything right was kind of hard… something about that made the piece somehow more relatable to play, while thinking about how someone our age who went here wrote it,” said Yixuan Zhao ’18, a flute soloist in the piece.