Sunday, October 25, 2009

Upcoming Concert - Waukesha Area Symphonic Band

The Waukesha Area Symphonic Band performs on Saturday November 7th at 7:30 PM in Shattuck Auditorium on the campus of Carroll University in Waukesha (100 N. East Avenue). The theme of the concert is Songs and Dances. Here is what will be on the program (subject to change, of course):
  • Lauds (Praise High Day): Nelson
  • Missouri Shindig: Reed
  • Perthshire Majesty: Hazo
  • Wild Nights: Ticheli
  • Jig from Saint Paul's Suite: Holst
  • Slip the Surley Bonds: Kirby
  • Incantation and Dance: Chance
  • National Emblem March: Bagley

A lot of big names composed this wonderful music. Not an easy concert, by a long shot. This should be a good performance, so be sure to put November 7th on your calendar!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Very sad news...

I'm saddened to report that the Milwaukee Music Community has lost a champion. Wayne Becker passed away yesterday, October 17th. For those of you who are not familiar, Wayne directed many community music groups in the Milwaukee area for over 40 years including the Milwaukee Elks Youth Band, the Milwaukee Knights Band, and the Milwaukee Civic Concert Band.

He also co-founded (with Reverend Tom Raber) the Milwaukee British Brass Band, now known as the Milwaukee Festival Brass. Their first concert was in the summer of 1985, and he remained the Director until 2000, when he joined the cornet section as a player. (I attended their concert last June, and not only did he play the concert, he arranged one of the pieces. And, of course, the Milwaukee Festival Brass performed the World Premiere of Wayne's Laude - St. Francis of Assissi just last Sunday.)

He was a past president of the Wisconsin Bandmaster's Association, and past state chairman of the Pi chapter of Phi Beta Mu, the International Bandmaster's Fraternity. In 1998 he received the Lifetime Achievement in Music Award from the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee.

I have a lot of memories of Wayne, too many to post. But I do remember one theme that was always present when he worked with community music groups: he always worked to get the group to play the music the best it could. In community music groups, there is no higher goal!

Wayne, we already miss you!

Everyone: if you'd like to post a memory of working with Wayne, or a memorial, please do so. I think it would be a fitting tribute for many memorials to be posted on a blog devoted to community music groups in the Milwaukee area. Thank you.

Upcoming Concerts

The October concerts have been performed. Now we have a couple of weeks before the November concerts come to us.

Just a reminder that the Halloween Concert by the Wauwatosa Community Band is on Monday November 2. Also, the Waukesha Area Symphonic Band performs on November 7th, and the Milwaukee American Legion Band concert is on November 8th. The last November concert is by the Knightwind Ensemble on Sunday November 22.

Speaking of the Knightwind Ensemble, I have more information on the program for the upcoming (3 PM in the Schwan Concert Hall on the campus of Wisconsin Lutheran College on the 22nd). Here's a listing of the pieces on the program:

  • The Finale from the Fifth Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich
  • The March from the Symphonic Metamorphosis by Paul Hindemith
  • Irish Tune from County Derry, Children's March, and The Duke of Marlborough Fanfare by Percy Grainger
  • Rhosymedre by Ralph Vaughn Williams
  • Russian Christmas Music by Alfred Reed
  • La Fiesta Mexicana by H. Owen Reed

As you can see, this will be one intense concert, not only for the musicians (a real lip buster), but for the audience as well. Very rarely does one concert have all of these blockbuster pieces. It really shows the talent level of the group.

If you haven't marked November 22nd on your calendar yet, do so right now. Be sure to attend - this is a concert not to miss!

Besides, I'd like to meet you when you purchase your tickets from me!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wauwatosa Community Band Halloween Concert

Before I get to the concert, just a note to let you know that I created an email address just for this blog: If you have info about your favorite community music group, send it to me and I'll get it on the blog. And thanks to the folks at the Hartland Community Band for pointing out that the blog needed an email address.

As for the Halloween concert, the date is set: Monday November 2 at 7 PM. The Wauwatosa Community Band will celebrate Halloween with a fun concert at Longfellow Middle School, corner of 76th and North Avenue.

Gladys Chmiel will be back as the announcer for the concert, and will be featured in two pieces as the narrator. Her narrations are full of life and fun, no doubt due to her theater background. (I remember seeing her play Mama Rose in Gypsy, a wonderful performance.)

Included on the program will be a great piece: The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Paul Dukas. Perfect for a Halloween concert. Also on the program is the Theme from the old TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The theme is actually The Funeral March of a Marionette by Gounod. And you can meet the band via the piece Meet The Band.

Kids and adults (I guess bigger kids) are encouraged to dress in costume. (Might as well get more use out of them!) Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for Seniors and Students, and can be purchased at the door. And kids dressed in costume get in free!

So, take the kids to see the Halloween Concert. You'll enjoy it too! And you'll still get to see the second half of the football game!

And one other note from director Donna Kummer. She also directs the Chorale at Plymouth Church (on the east side) and is in desperate need of a tenor. Their concert will be on Sunday December 6th at 7 PM, featuring works Hayden, Handel, Mendelssohn and others. If you are interested or know someone who is interested, please contact Donna at

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Milwaukee Festival Brass Concert this weekend - WORLD PREMIERE

That's right, the concert this Sunday afternoon at 3 PM in the Schwan Concert Hall of Wisconsin Lutheran College will include the world premiere of Laude - St. Francis of Assisi, written by the group's Co-Founder and Conductor Emeritus, Wayne Becker.

The concert celebrates the Milwaukee Festival Brass Band's Silver Anniversary, and so it is fitting that the co-founder be featured with a new piece. Some of you may not be aware that Mr. Becker has had some health issues of late, but he has completed the work and it will be performed on Sunday. This concert will be one not to miss!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hartland Community Band

I heard from the Hartland Community band this past week. They have just finished a successful summer season, and are gearing up for their next concert, a Christmas Concert at Holy Hill on Sunday December 6th at 3 PM. (I've added that to the Calendar posted in September.)

The Hartland band has a rather unique schedule, performing during the summer, taking a short break, performing the Christmas Concert, and taking another break during the winter months. Rehearsals to prepare for the summer season begin in March, after the worst of winter is gone.

They begin rehearsals for the Christmas Concert this Wednesday October 7th at Arrowhead South High School in the band room at 7 PM. If you are interested in joining, you can contact the band through their web site: Their director, Jack Schulze, tells me that he has openings in the percussion and trombone sections. However, he will consider all applicants. No formal audition is required, but you will need to play for the section leader and the director.

I'll have more on the selections for their Christmas Concert later in November.

And I should mention that Jack Schulze also plays in a brass quintet in the Lake Country area, Sterling and Brass. You can get more information at their web site: