Friday, March 28, 2008

Rehearsal Notes and Reminders

Even though my posts are about different community music groups in general, I volunteer time to the Knightwind Ensemble. And one or twice a concert season, I like to post a report on what is happening in the rehearsals as the group prepares for a concert. This is one such post.

The Knightwind Ensemble has been rehearsing for the Heroes concert since mid-January. I've been watching the progress on the music since then and it is amazing to see it come together. Here's some thoughts on the different pieces as they were rehearsed.

Olympic Fanfare - This John Williams piece from the 1984 Olympics is one of my favorites. It is a tough piece to play, but a really tough piece to play well. Every section needs to focus on blending into the whole to make the piece work. But there were a number of spots in the rehearsal that the goose bumps appeared....definitely starting to work. This will be a great way to begin the concert.

Sinfonia Hungarica - The feature piece is very difficult, but the group is getting over the hurdle of the notes and is working on the music. The Arpad movement begins in a dream mood, and in the rehearsal the woodwinds and percussion created a very eerie sound....really neat. There is also a more war-like section, driving and pulsating, but the sounds are unexpected and surprising...a very cool effect. The Istvan movement ends with the strains of the National Hymn of Hungary, a truly majestic finish. You have to hear this piece. I only wish that the first movement from this symphony, dedicated to Attila the Hun, was available to complete the concert. I guess the Ensemble will have to perform all three at a later concert once we are able to purchase Attila.

The Man Who Invented Music - This is a delightful piece, telling the story through the narrator of how Grandfather was able to get little Wendy to sleep: by telling her the story of how he invented music. The other rehearsals worked through the music as best as could be done without the narrator. However, our special guest Norman Moses was able to attend the rehearsal. After spending some time going over sections and details, the group performed the piece beginning to end. Wow! This will be a wonderfully fun piece at the concert. Mr. Moses did a great job narrating the story. What a difference when someone with Theater background is added to the ensemble!

William Tell Overture - The group ran through this one with no stops, but since it had been rehearsed heavily earlier, the sound was very nice. A lot of work was done earlier in the storm section, when different sections come together all playing sixteenth notes. Everyone has to concentrate on blending or the music sounds muddy. But the sounds came through clearly. Obviously this will be an audience favorite, but the attention to detail is already there.

I'm hoping to be able to report on the other pieces next week.


The Milwaukee Festival Brass is having their Open Rehearsal on Tuesday April 1st. If you'd like to bring your horn and sit in with a British style Brass Band, here's your opportunity. See their web site for all the details:

And don't forget the Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Concert Band is performing Sunday March 30 at 3 PM in the Schwan Concert Hall on the campus of Wisconsin Lutheran College.

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