Movies, Musicals and More
Saturday, Jun 07, 2014 06:00 am
Mark your calendar for an evening of light, summery band music.
The St. Albert Community Concert Band and the Saint City Big Band continue their long tradition of joining forces for a spring concert on Wednesday, June 11 at the Arden Theatre.
Movies, Musicals and More is all about those splendid compositions we’ve all heard while sitting in a darkened theatre, but could never remember the names.
Both bands are slated to play seven songs in two 50-minute sets.
This is Dr. Angela Schroeder’s fourth year as the concert band’s music director and she has nothing but high praise for her musicians.
“I’ve seen such great potential and they keep responding and superseding in what I thought was possible. It’s been such a delight and such a challenge for me,” said Schroeder.
One of the first pieces she’s programmed is Wayfarers’ Journey performed with a recorder, a tune with an otherworldly sound that comes across like a chant.
Anyone who has seen Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves will recognize composer Michael Kamen’s adventurous score.
The band also plays a John Williams tune. Long known for penning movie scores, Schroeder has instead chosen Olympic Fanfare, a boisterous composition he penned for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
“It’s a fanfare everyone will recognize. NBC still plays it every time there’s an Olympic.”
Schroeder also features principal trombonist John Benzies in a medley from the widely acclaimed Broadway musical Porgy and Bess.
In the second portion of the concert, Tom Smyth takes over the conducting duties with the Saint City Big Band. This is Smyth’s retirement concert and his final hurrah promises to be highly charged.
Fortunately, he will be sharing conducting duties with incoming music director J.F. Picard.
“I’m very pleased we’re getting someone of his calibre to take over. He’s played with the Royal Canadian Artillery Band and he’s one of the finest conductors I’ve worked with,” Smyth said.
Smyth compiled a repertoire from musician suggestions to perform a jazz concert of the big band era using original arrangements.
One of the lead Sammy Nestico charts, It’s Oh So Nice, was written for Count Basie’s Big Band. Basie was in a slump and Nestico’s songwriting revived the bandleader’s career.
“It was recorded in the late ’60s and it’s one of those charts that you remember the melody long after we play it,” said Smyth.
Saxophonist Barth Bradley, who is also president of the Alberta Chartered Accountants, is stepping away from the band for a year due to a heavy workload. As his adieu, Bradley is featured in My Foolish Heart.
The jazz band is also playing Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, an original version from the Buddy Rich Big Band. As the incoming conductor, Picard will have the honour of performing a sax solo.
In addition, lead trumpet Brian Tymkow and Smyth, also a trumpeter, will spell each other off for an uncharacteristic improvised solo.
And what would a jazz concert be without a sizzling Latin chart? For his final round, Smyth has programmed Mazatlan, a highly technical, rhythmic number.
“There’s going to be such a variety of music at this concert and every one you hear, you will like the best.”