Concert Band performs student composition
YANA DOMUSCHIEVA - CONTRIBUTOR
On Sunday the Bowdoin Concert Band is presenting the Winter
Concert at Pickard. The thirty-one members of the band are largely Bowdoin
students, though the group is supplemented by several members of the greater
Brunswick community, including a married couple who play trombone together.
The Director of the Band, John Morneau, is enthusiastic and wholly satisfied
with the work the Band has done thus far.
At the Tuesday rehearsal the Band sounded ready for the performance.
The musicians, led by Morneau, have come a long way since the beginning
of the semester when they first began practicing. Morneau has chosen five
pieces for the Winter Concert to make a diverse program, balanced in difficulty.
The concert will start with American Fanfare. This is a lively
piece composed for the Dallas Brass, one of the many ensembles with which
composer John Wasson has worked. American Fanfare will be followed by
Prelude in E flat minor, an arrangement of one of the Twenty-four Preludes
by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. Next is the Concerto for Piano
and Concert Band composed by Bowdoin's own Francis Kayali '01. The composing
of this piece was facilitated by the use of a computer.
This might destroy some of the romanticism usually surrounding
a composer and his piece - long nights of creative fever and sitting on
the piano to put down the new piece on paper - but the use of technology
does not detract from the piece's poignancy. In addition to the major
piano part, there are also solo trumpet and euphonium parts.
The piece was entirely unpredictable and it was difficult
to know what would come next - soft flute tones or breath-taking percussion,
done by the three energetic ladies that make up the percussion section.
The Concerto takes adventurous twists and turns. The sound and the overall
effect is thrilling.
After the performance of Taylor Gang's ('00) composition,
which was written for the concert band last year, Kayali was inspired
to begin writing his Concerto. The last two months of rehearsals have
been spent fine-tuning the piece.
On Sunday "the baby will be born," according to Director
Morneau. While the other pieces have already been performed many times,
no "official" audience has yet heard the Concerto. "Working with the Band
and Francis to adapt the Concerto has been a fascinating process. It has
been amazing to see the piece develop."
Another fact that makes the Concerto exceptional is that
it needs a very accomplished pianist to perform the piano parts. The piano
part is "extremely difficult" according to Morneau, and will not actually
be played by Kayali himself. It will be performed by Martin Perry, a virtuoso
pianist and a Brunswick resident.
Perry has directed productions for the Maine State Music
Theater. Perry is also part of a piano duo with Kathryn Lewis, which has
performed around the country and abroad. It was astonishing to watch the
speed with which Perry's hands danced on the keys of the piano.
Following the "main event" of the Winter Concert is Old Home
Days Suite by Charles Ives. It is a merry thing, of the kind that goes
into your head and makes you hum it all day long.
Composed of a waltz, several sections of songs, a march and
a final joyful movement, the Suite plays with familiar tunes, such as
London Bridge Is Falling Down.
The Winter Concert will end with Polka and Fugue from "Schwanda,
the Bagpiper" by Jaromir Weinberger. I realize that this is not the first
and last Winter Concert. Probably for those who have been around for a
while this is just another poster on the wall.
However, I imagine that for the musicians, Sunday afternoon
will be a special day, both for Francis Kayali and John Morneau. "A piece
of music is always a work in progress," Morneau said. Come to Pickard
Theater at 3 p.m. on Sunday to see just how much progress the Concert
Band, and Kayali, have made.