Every journey begins with a single step. The Jackson Hole Community Band will begin it’s 2018-19 season with the many racing steps of Old Bills Fun Run. Who could ask for a better way to start?
For me, Old Bills has always been the start. Two years ago, I made my debut as the conductor on a wonderful sunny morning in Town Square. Since then, I have made new friends and strengthened old ones, seen the eyes of children light up when they hear a familiar Halloween tune, given audience members a journey around the world and through time and seen a side of Jackson that loves and appreciates the arts on a community level. My experiences are only a small fraction of the great experiences had by all the members of the band since its inception in 1989. This year we share some of those experiences leading up to Old Bills with a Meet a Member Campaign. Select members of the group will have a chance to blog on our website about their experiences with the band and why they still love being a member.
The music we’ll be playing at the Square will reflect the spirit of our group. From the zany sounds of The Muppets Theme to the laid back sounds of MacDonald and Hanley’s Indiana to the somewhat suspicious sounds of The Stripper. Every tune will help make this early September morning energize. And with that, every band member will bring their own personality into the music we present for you.
One thing I can’t forget to mention is the importance of donating to the Community Band via Old Bills Fun Run. Examples of how your donations help include instrument repair, maintenance of library materials, radio and newspaper publicity, rehearsal and concert space rentals, and so forth. These details are only a mere trifle as compared to the real intent of your donation. Your donation shows the love and support for community music making and its impact on the future of our society. I’ll see you on the square!
The Jackson Hole Community Band Celebrates Independence Day at Jackson Lake Lodge
Winter is a distant memory. The snow has melted. Adventurers are rafting down the Snake. Trails are blazing with mountain bikers and hikers. Summer is here! What better way to celebrate than a good ole fashioned patriotic concert!
I couldn’t be more excited for our Jackson Lake Lodge Concert. It’s truly a treat to perform in front of the beauty that is Jackson Lake and Mount Moran. Being so close to Independence Day, this concert will feature some classic American themed music from Henry Fillmore to John Philip Sousa to Aaron Copland. Veterans will have a chance to show their nation’s pride with our “Armed Forces Salute”, which features “The Caisson Song”, “Semper Paratus”, “The Marine Hymn”, “U.S. Air Force Song” and “Anchors Away”.
This concert also features a piece by american cartoonist and xylophonist George Hamilton Green. It’s a jovial rag for wind band and solo xylophone by the name of “Log Cabin Blues”. Somehow, it strikes up the image of a Yellowstone moose somehow making its way into a local’s cabin late at night. The xylophone soloist for this concert will be none other than yours truly. While not too difficult for the band to play, the xylophone solo challenges the player with complex stick movements and long improvisational-like arpeggios.
The program will have a chance to relax with a performance of Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me”. This performance features our one and only bassoonist, Caitlyn Falco, singing the enchanting lyrics. Caitlyn also sings with the Jazz Foundation of Jackson Hole and everyone in the band is excited to have her display her talent for this concert as well.
It wouldn’t be a Jackson Lake Lodge concert without PDQ Bach. Perhaps the most esteemed wind composer of all time, his works are reminiscent of a day in the life of a musical Mad Hatter. “March of the Cute Little Wood Sprites” is a tale as old as time. As described in the composers notes, “this piece was commissioned by a band of cute little wood sprites…and they were so pleased with the result that after the first performance several members of the troupe, still wearing wings and halos, climbed up on top of the composer and did a jig.” While seemingly a harmless work, this piece has provided the greatest challenge a community band could ever face; SINGING! Displayed at small intervals, community band musicians will have the opportunity to show off their reluctant dedication to the conductor with a few “Laas” and “Do-Waahs” here and there. I have no doubt that this group will use the power of the sprites themselves to pull off a charming display for the audience.
Lastly, our most challenging piece on the program (besides Midway March), “A Copland Tribute”. This piece takes the best parts of this american composer’s vast repertoire and cleverly sews it seamlessly into one piece for wind band. You will hear music from his “Fanfare for the Common Man”, “Simple Gifts” from “Appalachian Spring” and “Buckaroo Holiday” and “Hoe-Down” from “Rodeo”. The setting for this performance couldn’t be more Grand. I’m sure this conductor’s face will light up with majesty when hearing these classic Copland themes with a simultaneous view of Mount Moran. I can’t wait!
As the season continues, we take the time to reflect on the past. From the dawn of man to the modern day banging of so many percussion instruments. What’s the difference, you ask? Not much. Our upcoming Spring Concert is full of thoughtful moments that reflect upon how far music has come since our caveman roots. From baroque style music like J.S. Bach to impressionist music of Debussy to the classic 1960’s rock n’ roll of the Beatles. There’s so much for the musicians of the community band to learn. And the best part of this learning experience is it’s fun!
It’s amazing to see musicians eyes light up when they listen to the sounds of medieval modal music being infused with an almost ethereal-like quality of sounds from the woodwinds and percussion (bells and bowls!). Of course, what Jackson Hole Community Band concert doesn’t feature a march or two. This concert will once again feature the sounds of Sousa from his Black Horse Troop. Perhaps not the most well known of his marches, but it does bring that classic Sousa feel from the bottom of your tapping foot. But Sousa isn’t the only one claiming the march music spotlight. This concert also features the music of Paul Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis. Originally a four movement piece, the community band is playing the ambitiously difficult, yet thrilling march movement. Based off of a piano duet composed by Carl Maria Von Weber, Hindemith is a master at transposing the somewhat simple dimensions of two pianos to an entire orchestra, or in this case wind band.
Perhaps the most fascinating of pieces lined up for this Spring Concert is a piece by Texas resident John Mackey. His piece, Foundry, shows how much he loves percussion. As the name implies, this piece is a gritty, mechanical piece that features a multitude of percussion instruments. What makes this piece so special to the musicians of the band is it’s need for more percussion players from different sections of the winds. When offered the opportunity, members of the trumpet, saxophone and flute sections offered to chip in their help with the percussion section. This piece represents the future of percussion music and it’s many fascinating colors.
As conductor of the band, I can’t be more excited for our epic journey through time! When April 21st arrives, it will be impossible to wipe the joyous grin from this conductors face! I hope you dear readers will be smiling along with me!