Potsdam Community Band concert Friday evening at Ives Park
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 2:00 pm

POTSDAM -- The Potsdam Community Band will present a concert this Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. in Ives Park.

The Band of 60, directed by Theresa Witmer, will perform with marches, early band music, show tunes, and other favorites.

The performance gets off to a brassy start with the classic Band opener, “Emperata Overture,” by Claude Smith. Each section gets to show its stuff, from the melodious clarinet melodies, to the bold brass entrances, to the full percussion section. Short, colorful solos by flute, oboe, and even tuba and snare drum contrast the exuberant beginning and ending sections.

Fans of brass band music and those familiar with the movie “Brassed Off” will recognize the next piece, “10th Regiment,” the celebrated march written by R.B. Hall in 1895. Titled “Death or Glory,” the march was dedicated to the Tenth Regiment Band of Albany, for whom it is also named.

The next piece is from 1938, a jazzy-classical mix by Morton Gould entitled “Pavanne,” which features principal trumpeter James Madeja on cornet.

From the islands west of Scotland comes a suite of folk songs called “The Hebrides,” composed by Clare Grundman.The 4 short movements range from a beautiful Celtic ballad called Eriskay (old Norse for “Eric’s Isle”) to a light, bouncy “Milking Song,” ending with the final traditional Scottish bagpipe tune, “The Road to the Isles.”

Two pieces were inspired by the famous Italian volcano Vesuvius. The first is the happy song from the 19th century, “Funiculi-Funicula,” written to commemorate the opening of the first funicular cable car on Mount Vesuvius. The song has been used in a wide variety of ways in modern times, including on “Sesame Street,” for the video-game “Spider-Man 2,” in Veggie Tales, and even by the Grateful Dead, who often used the song during live concerts while warming up! The arrangement by Yo Goto played by PCB is an exciting and fun one! The volcano’s more destructive and eruptive elements will be heard in the next piece, entitled “Vesuvius.” Composer Frank Ticheli said that as it grew more explosive and fiery, his piece evolved to become like a dance from the final days of the doomed city of Pompeii, destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79.

Two very different marches follow. The first, an arrangement of “Children’s March: Over the Hills and Far Away” was written around 1919 while the composer, Australian-born Percy Grainger, was serving in the U.S. Army as a bandsman. The next march, “Circus Days,” was written in 1944 by one of America’s march masters, Karl King. In King’s day, each circus had a large band of musicians that played live at every show. The music was meant to build up excitement in the audience as well as provide entertainment, and this march is no exception.

The final piece on the concert is “Beauty and the Beast Highlights.”