Sunday, October 31, 2010

Concert announcement and a possible Christmas Gift

First, today, is the concert announcement. The Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Concert Band will perform a concert saluting our Veterans on Saturday November 6 at 5 PM in Memorial Hall at the War Memorial Center in downtown Milwaukee, where Wisconsin Avenue meets Prospect Avenue, 750 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive). The MMCCB performs patriotic concerts recognizing Veterans Day every year, and it is always good concert: a nice mix of remembering the fallen and saluting those still with us. If you go, I know you will enjoy the concert. The band will also perform the concert on Veterans Day at the Zablocki Hospital.

And here is some news from the Racine Concert Band that might help you with your Christmas shopping. The Business Manager of the Racine Band, and former Music Director Del Esich, has written a book on the history of the Racine Band. The book is called And The Band Played On. He traces the beginnings of the band back to the 1850's and discusses the contributions of Henry and Fred Schulte in the 20's through the 40's. Of course, he outlines the years he was at the helm, including the band's performance with Barbra McNair in 1987 at the Grand Dedication of Racine's Festival Hall, and the awarding of the Sudler Silver Scroll to the Racine Concert Band by the John Phillip Sousa Foundation in 1995. The band is one of the best in the nation with the history to show for it.

It is a fascinating read. If you are interested in community bands, this book is a must for your library. It is available at Wilson's Coffee Shop in Racine: 3306 Washington Avenue, 262-634-6611. Give them a call or stop by for a coffee or tea when you pick up your copy. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, some of the photographs used in the book were taken by yours truly. But that is not the reason to buy the book. OK, maybe it is a small reason...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Concert Preview - Menomonee Falls Symphony

The Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Mike Kamenski, presents The Elements of Music on Saturday October 30th at 7:30 PM in the Sussex Hamilton Fine Arts Center.

This concert for young people will feature a number of works as examples of the essence of music, and the process of creating it. Included on the program will be some selections from Moussorgsky's Pictures At An Exhibition, Richard Wagner's opera Die Miestersinger, and the Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Some great music and a lot of fun. And maybe some learning as well.

As a special treat, students who are interested can come up on the stage and sit in with the Orchestra during the performance. For that young aspiring musician, that can be a great thrill.

For more information on the concert, including ticket purchases, please check the Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra's web site:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Concert Preview - Milwaukee Festival Brass

Join the Milwaukee Festival Brass on Sunday October 24th at 3PM for Traditions, to be held in the Schwan Concert Hall on the campus of Wisconsin Lutheran College. Maestra Dr. Patricia Backhaus has programed musical traditions in a number of different ways.

First, here's some background information in case you are not familiar with the group. The Milwaukee Festival Brass is a British Style Brass Band (see their web site at for more information on that). Besides using all brass instruments (and slightly different ones at that), British Brass Bands perform in competitions, and in the autumn the winners of the regional competitions converge on London for the British Brass Band National Championships, held at the Royal Albert Hall.

Dr. Backhaus has chosen two pieces for the program that were used to test the participating bands. The first one is from 1952, and is entitled Fantasia: In Switzerland, composed by Eric Ball. The second piece, which tested bands in 2009 in competitions throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand, is called Torchbearer and it uses a theme from the music of Eric Ball, but is devilishly hard to play. It was written by one of the Brass' favorite composers, Peter Graham.

The program also features the Brass' lead Euphonium, Dave Meyer, as well as music from Fiddler On The Roof. It should be a lot of fun...the MFB concerts always are.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for Seniors and Students, and can be purchased at the door. For more information, visit

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Concert Preview - Wauwatosa Community Band

Join the Wauwatosa Community Band for an early Holloween Celebration on Tuesday October 26 at 7 PM at Longfellow Middle School, at the corner of 76th Street and North Avenue. And be sure to come in costume!

Music Director Donna Kummer has chosen a mix of musical styles. From Broadway and the Movies comes music from The Sound of Music and from The Lion King. The trombone section is featured in a fun selection called Slippery Slides. Every children's concert needs a classical warhorse, and in this concert you'll hear Rossini's William Tell Overture.

I have to mention that Tosa Band will perform one of my favorite pieces: Norman Dello Joio's Scenes From The Louvre. The piece is a five movement work depicting the development of the Louvre during the Renaissance. It was originally written for the 1964 NBC television series on the Louvre, and it won the Emmy for outstanding television score that year. The band version was premiered in March of 1966 by the Baldwin-Wallace College Wind Ensemble conducted by the composer. It is a wonderful piece of music depicting not only the wonderful works of art within that museum, but the stateliness of the museum itself. I'm sure you will enjoy it, just as I am sure that the band will be challenged by it!

Finally, there has to be some scary music. Maestra Kummer has chosen two pieces to fill the bill: Thrillers and Chillers and Ghosts in the Graveyard. Just in time to get you in the mood for the upcoming weekend!

Snacks and drinks will be served after the concert for little goblins looking for a treat! Bigger goblins can enjoy them as well.

Tickets can be purchased in the lobby before the concert. Don't miss this one, it is guaranteed to be a lot of fun!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Concert Preview - Knightwind Ensemble

The new Music Director for the Knightwind Ensemble, Dr. Erik Janners of Marquette University, has passed on some of the music the Ensemble will perform at their November 21 concert. For the record, the concert will be in the Schwan Concert Hall on the campus of Wisconsin Lutheran College. The entrance to the Concert Hall is about 88th and Wisconsin Avenue. The concert will begin at 3 PM.

Two favorite orchestral transcriptions will be included in the program: the movements Mars, The Bringer of War and Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity from Gustav Holst masterpiece, The Planets. It has been many years since Knightwind performed either of these two movements, and yet they remain a favorite of both the audience and the musicians.

It would not be a Knightwind Ensemble performance without some music from a contemporary composer. For the November concert, that composer is Martin Ellerby, and the music is his Dreamscapes. The music is impressions of areas outside reality, including Shangri-La and Xanado. The Ensemble has performed Mr. Ellerby's Paris Sketches in November of 2005.

Also on the program is Aspen Jubilee from composer Ron Nelson. His aim with the music was to show "...the stupendous beauty of the Rockies, in general, of blinding sunlight, of snow-covered peaks; of the frontier spirit of old Aspen with its brash, funny dynamism, its corny ragtag Fourth of July parades and firework displays."

You can reach the Knightwind Web Site at By printing out the page for the next concert, you can receive a discount on concert tickets. Be sure to check it out. And be sure to mark your calendar for November 21. The concert will be a good one!