From Hazo to Holst: Academy Concert Bands Mix Marches and Lyrical Pieces in Fall Concert

A low-pitched hum reverberated through Cochran Chapel, punctuated by a high, melodic tune from the flutes. The melody cut off momentarily as soft percussion notes rang out before resuming at a louder volume. The melody quieted again before all of the instruments joined in to create a slow, rich tune.

“It was a great opener, and it was really nice and soothing to the ear. I liked when the drums came in. I thought it added a really cool rhythm and beat to the whole performance,” said audience member Hannah Guy ’21.

This piece, a lyrical work composed by Samuel Hazo, opened the Academy Concert Bands’ performance last Saturday afternoon. The concert was a showcase of the pieces that the L’Insieme Di Martedi Sera band, conducted by Peter Cirelli, and the Academy Concert Band, directed by Vincent Monaco, have played over the past term.

Kamsi Oramasionwu ’19, an alto saxophonist in both bands, said, “So the first band is Tuesday band… it’s a much smaller group so we don’t have bassoons and other instruments… and Thursday band [is a] bigger group. All of the people who are in a concert band will be there on Thursday and play longer, harder pieces.”

The second part of the concert included a four-part movement by Gustav Holst titled, “Second Suite For Military Band in F Major.” The movement began sharply, moving directly into loud brass and percussion. The suite then transitioned into a slower, more delicate movement focusing on the flute and clarinet sections. The suite ended with a focus on a single piccolo player and then a large burst of sound by the whole band. Holst’s movement resonated with many of the players according to Antonio Stuebbe ’20.

“My favorite piece was the Holst; it’s the military march. I actually played it in a previous school and just liked the sound,” said Stuebbe.

The concert finished with the piece “El Capitan,” a march composed by John Philip Sousa and arranged by Frederick Fennell. The song began with a resounding, upbeat rhythm followed by a light-hearted tune. The melody faded in and out, growing and shrinking in intensity while the the rhythm of the percussion continued steadily in the background.

“I enjoyed [‘El Capitan’] because it was a march and we went quickly… [My favorite part was] Mr. Monaco. He’s hilarious; he always keeps us laughing. I love Mr. Monaco,” said Dyran Adkins ’21, a bass trombonist.