Listening to blaring horns and a marching snare line, concertgoers nodded along to the intense percussion of the medley of the soundtrack to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. Intense pulses built tension in the piece until the different layers of melodies converged into a final, sustained note.
Christopher Gagne, Instructor in Music, said, “I liked the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ piece, because it had a lot of different time signatures and tempos; and it moves around a lot so it was a real challenge. The Pirates piece was a lot of shifting, going from one song to another.”
This piece was one of many performed by the Academy Concert Bands for their annual winter term concert in the Cochran Chapel this past Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. The group and concert were directed by Vincent Monaco, Instructor in Music, and Gagne.
The Academy Concert Band performed three main pieces from three very different genres. While the repertoire explored in the concert as a whole did not necessarily explore a specific theme, according to Gagne, he and Monaco chose the songs with the mindset of having as much variety as possible.
“We were aiming for kind of a balance. So the opening number was an up-tempo, energetic piece. We like to start with some energy. And then usually the middle number is more slow, like the chamber piece. And we want to end on a high note. So we have a fast, energetic piece, a slower, more ballady piece, and then we have a high-energy piece to end our set,” said Gagne.
The concert also featured “The Cave You Fear” by Michael Markowski. Beginning with a muted, low pitch, the piece gradually transitioned to a light melody on the flutes accompanied by a steady rhythm on the cymbals.
Performer Somin Virmani ’22 said, “‘The Cave You Fear’ is more avant-garde and modern. I think that in all musical settings it is important to include modern music, just because that is where the world is going.”
According to both Gagne and Monaco, one of the biggest challenges in preparing for the concert was finding opportunities to get all students to attend rehearsals.
Monaco said, “It’s very difficult to get a full rehearsal, particularly in winter because of the way the sports schedule is set up. But throughout the whole year, in spite of the fact that it’s clear that there are reserved times for music, a lot of the times for various reasons these things are not obeyed. So getting everybody there, perpetually, is an impossibility.”
Despite this challenge, the concert went very well and featured effective collaboration, according to performer Zev Barden ’20.
“We played very musically, we played together. We had a good concept of what we wanted the pieces to sound like before going in, which makes a huge difference. We weren’t out of style for any of the pieces that we played,” said Barden.