Japan is a land of fascinating juxtaposition, a place where tradition and modernity, pop culture and formality, the ancient and the innovative coexist side by side. Japan is also home to some of the world’s finest musicians and musical ensembles. The Japanese have embraced the music of the wind ensemble and can boast of having some of the finest wind bands in the world. In recent decades, brass bands have also become popular in Japan, with new bands forming every year. The Japanese music education system is considered by many to be the most advanced in the world; videos of young brass bands from Japan, performing repertoire that would normally be associated with far more advanced ages, are a common sight.
The concert will include Kimigayo, a Japanese march which contains the melody of the national anthem of Japan. MFB member Al Floeter will perform Hamabe no uta, a traditional Japanese folk song normally performed by a shakuhachi, but here reinterpreted for the euphonium. Works by a number of Japanese composers and arrangers will be on display, including the nostalgic Amusement Park Suite by Hiroki Takahashi, and a fanciful rhapsody on Funiculi, Funicula by Yo Gotoq.
This concert also provides the band an opportunity to celebrate its High School Apprentice Program. This year’s apprentice, trombonist and Cedarburg High School junior Nat Esten, will be a featured soloist in two movements of Peter Graham’s Cats’ Tales.
And I've learned that the MFB will also have a silent auction to be held before the concert and at intermission, including handmade jewelry by MFB supporter Susan Stachelski.
The Milwaukee Festival Brass will present Impressions of Japan on Sunday, May 17, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 20275 Davidson Road in Brookfield, WI. Tickets are $12, or $9 for seniors and students. Group rates are available. For more information, please visit the band’s website at www.mfbrass.org.
We should also congratulate the members of the Milwaukee Festival Brass for placing third in their section at the North American Brass Band Association Championships. Great job!