WARNING: The following blog contains shameless advertisement for the Mercer Middle-Senior High School Bands!
Okay, if you made it to sentence two then you realize there must be an upcoming concert. The ensembles at Mercer will present their Holiday Concert on Wednesday evening, November 28th at 7:00 p.m. A synopsis of each group’s program follows….
Middle School Concert Band – A Joyous Holiday (Robert E. Foster Sr.), Bashana Haba’Ah (arr. Lloyd Conley) and Santa Meets Sousa (arr. Mark Williams). Santa Meets Sousa has unique moments shading in parts of The Stars and Stripes Forver, Semper Fidelis, and Washington Post in between Christmas Carol favorites. The real push piece is the setting of Bashana Haba’Ah (Jewish translation – “Next Year”). Minor key, slow tempo, and lots of accidentals – the presentation will be rough, but it has put the students through good process.
High School Concert Band – The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (arr. John Moss) and Ere The World Began To Be (Dr. Jack Stamp). Stamp’s setting of this early plain chant is just awesome. The piece continues to build on itself leading to a wonderful section with woodwinds presenting the plainsong in eighths over an augmented version in trumpets, bass clarinet, and tuba (melody, yes!). It took me until my second time teaching/rehearsing this piece, but the ending chord is actually constructed from part of the plain chant and results in a lovely suspension. I like this setting, and it is a great way to shake up a Holiday concert with some music history, and a unique sound canvas.
Wind Ensemble – Coming off our recital and Honors band auditions, we scaled back to work on some more musical items – namely intonation and balance. Symphonic Prelude on Adeste Fidelis (Claude T. Smith) and Greensleeves (Alfred Reed). Reed’s treatment is just gorgeous, and lends itself well for working on the items I mentioned (no wonder I saved it from the FIRE).
We close with the combined senior high groups presenting The Holly and The Ivy and The Christmas Song. The Holly and Ivy goes through a number of musical treatments and shadings before drawing away to a small chamber group. You can hear more about it over at Composing Like Mad Podcasts.
I hope you can join us for a wonderful show!