Program Notes

 

A message from Tim McKay, Artistic Director

 

Greetings, and thank you for joining us for this concert as we celebrate our 30th Anniversary season! Flagstaff has so many wonderful cultural experiences to offer, whether you are a visitor or a resident, and we appreciate you taking the time to listen to the music we have to share with you today!

 

We strive to present a variety of music in our performances - something for everyone in the audience! We hope that you will hear some familiar favorites, but also perhaps something new that catches your ear and brings you to a new appreciation and awareness of what the world of band literature has to offer. 

 

The program notes below provide some interesting details about a few of the composers and their works that we are performing with you today. If you enjoy something in particular - especially something that is new to your ears - I highly recommend that you seek out other works by that composer! Feel free to come up after the concert and share your thoughts or questions about the music we played today, or shoot us an email if that is easier. I would love to meet you and hear about what you enjoyed the most!

 

We hope to see you again at another concert this season!

Enjoy!

 

Tim McKay, Director, Flagstaff Community Band

Program notes for today’s concert

 

Fanfare for the 360th, by Alexander R. Skelton

Fanfare of the 360th celebrates the past 30 years of the Flagstaff Community Band’s existence, perseverance, and plentiful achievements. The piece starts with a solemn fanfare sung by the Horns, a grandiose theme that grows from the growls of the low woodwinds. The section rolls into a lighter introduction of the B theme, where fast runs and flourishes echo between the brass and the woodwinds. 

 

The piece continues with a nuanced return to the grandiose fanfare, which grows and subsides to reveal a chaotic dogfight inside the band between the low brass and woodwinds--one that progressively picks up energy and momentum to cascade into a return of the B theme once again. The furious fanfare continues to grow into its final form--a powerful melody that echoes the notes of FCB, letters which define the Flagstaff Community band, notes which strongly bring the piece to an end. (Program notes by the composer)

 

About the composer, Alexander R. Skelton: Ever since a young age, Alexander Skelton has had an interest in music. He began playing the trombone in 6th grade under the direction of Tim McKay. Music quickly became an outlet of creativity for him, and after his first year of band, he began writing his own music. He began with simple solos for trombone, but slowly grew to write quartets and larger ensembles, eventually beginning to write band and symphonic pieces. Alex began taking piano lessons at 13 with Jody Laura to further his musical education and music theory. He has continued to experiment as a self-taught composer and is excited to continue pursuing his musical interests into the future. 

Living in Flagstaff, Arizona with his parents and amazing younger brother, Alex continues pursuing his musical interests through trombone, voice, and piano as a senior in high school. Recent accolades include singing as a tenor in the Arizona All-State Jazz and Show Choir and playing in the Arizona All-State Festival Orchestra on trombone. Along with being a proud member of both the Flagstaff Eagle Pride Marching Band and the Flagstaff Community Band, Alex is a founding member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society at Flagstaff High School, all while receiving the Stonehill College Book Award due to his outstanding GPA and Community Service record at FHS. If you are interested in hearing more compositions and arrangements by Alex, check out his other music here

Highland Cathedral, by Michael Korb and Ulrich Roever

Arranged for band by Jay Dawson

Although the melody of this piece certainly conjures a scene akin to any traditional Scottish ballad, Highland Cathedral was actually composed by German musicians Ulrich Roever and Michael Korb as recently as 1982 for a HIghland games held in Germany. The song is now often used in weddings. Jay Dawson’s arrangement for band treats the tune with an elegance and stateliness that certainly befits a ceremonial procession; Sometimes as a beautiful pastoral tune, others as a lyric march with a military style snare drum part to help convey a martial mood, and finally the flourishes in the woodwinds to bring us to a bold and triumphant finale.

 

Gavorkna Fanfare, by Jack Stamp

Jack Stamp composed the Gavorkna Fanfare in 1991 at the request of his former teacher and friend, the great Eugene Corporon. Corporon was looking for a piece to use as a concert opener with his Cincinnati College-Conservatory Wind Symphony in their upcoming performance at the College Band Directors National Association Conference in Kansas City. Although Stamp has written many works for bands and other ensembles, Gavorkna is considered to be his most well-known work among band musicians. 

 

In the composer’s own words: “The work exploits the idea of a fanfare for full wind band, rather than the traditional brass and percussion instrumentation. The opening pyramids lead to the melodic minor third cluster heard in original and inversion simultaneously. A polychordal transition based on the upcoming “fugato” subject leads to a minimalist accompaniment to the 4-part counterpoint. The opening idea returns with a coda based on the minor third.” 

 

March from 1941, by John Williams

transcribed for Band by Paul Lavender

“Steven Spielberg’s hilarious comedy 1941 featured the late actor John Belushi brilliantly portraying a character known as Wild Bill Kelso. Kelso was a crazy, impertinent but lovable Air Force pilot whose antics seemed to require a musical accompaniment that had humor and rhythmic vitality. As a result, I set myself the task of writing a zanily patriotic march that upon hearing, we might be moved to tap our feet to an imaginary parade going by, and having fun doing it.” (Program notes by the composer)

March-Bou-Shu, by Satoshi Yagisawa

Satoshi Yagisawa was born in Japan in 1975, and graduated from Musashino Academia Musicae, where he continued on to complete his master’s course in music, as well. He composes a wide variety of music including orchestral, chamber, chorus, and music for traditional Japanese instruments. March-Bou-Shu was commissioned by the All Japan Band Association of Chiba Prefecture to commemorate their 45th anniversary. The composition is based on the melody of a lyric Japanese folk song titled Boushu Oiwake. 

 

 There are many interesting aspects to the musical composition of this march. There are two primary themes that occur throughout the work, the first being fairly marked and aggressive, the second much more lyrical and contemplative.  After a series of exchanges of these main themes with brief transitions between, the composer builds tension toward the climax of the piece using a surprising fugal treatment of the first theme in the woodwinds. This fugue is then joined, and eventually overpowered, by an elongated statement of the original first theme by the entire brass section. A final emphatic statement of the opening theme, in its original form, brings the piece to its close.

 

The Rowan Tree, setting by Randall Standridge

The Rowan Tree is a setting of an old Scottish folk song of the same name. The lyrics are attributed to a poem by Carolina Oliphant (1766-1845), also known as Lady Nairne. During her time, it was not considered appropriate for women to write or publish poetry or songs; she wrote in secret and published under the name Mrs. Bogan of Bogan. She is considered to be one of the most important Scottish poets, second only to Robert Burns. My setting of the Rowan Tree seeks to capture the simple beauty of the melody and the melancholy mood of the lyrics.     (Program notes by the composer)

The Stars and Stripes Forever March, by John Philip Sousa

edited in Sousa performance style by Keith Brion

Perhaps the most well known piece of music written by an American composer, The Stars and Stripes Forever is certainly familiar to all and needs no introduction. Something you might not already know about this march, however, lies in the final statement of the Trio theme in the rousing closing moments of the piece. The composer himself explained that the three melodies that occur simultaneously in the final Trio are meant to represent the three regions of the United States, as seen at that time: The main theme represents the North, the obbligato in the piccolo represents the South, and the bold countermelody in the trombones is meant to represent the West.

 

Star Wars - The Marches, by John Williams

Arr. by Jerry Brubaker

The orchestral film scores of John Williams are some of the most iconic and influential musical works of the last century. The marches that come from his many movie soundtracks have provided some of the best transcriptions adapted for concert band instrumentation, obviously due to the fact that the winds, brass, and percussion are typically the featured instruments in most orchestral marches. These 5 marches from the films of the Star Wars Skywalker Saga demonstrate the great variety of themes and textures that Williams composed to help bring to life the characters and scenes within these epic films. The marches, in order of appearance, are:

Star Wars (Main Theme) (from “Star Wars”)

Parade of the Ewoks (from “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi”)

The Imperial March (“Darth Vader’s Theme”) (from “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”)

Augie’s Great Municipal Band (from “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace”)

The Throne Room (and End Title) (from “Star Wars”)