Sunday, February 1, 2009

Winter Concert

It’s easy to find a community or high school band or chorus concert around the holidays or in the spring, but January/February is a dead zone for that sort of thing. So it was a nice treat to hear the Fredericksburg Community Concert Band play a winter concert last night at Massaponax High School. We always enjoy the band’s concerts, which are usually a mix of light classical, marches, and popular pieces arranged for bands. There’s also a whole genre of music, composed by people you’ve never heard of, designed for amateur bands: the holiday medleys, the seasonal compositions, the special occasion pieces. Last night’s concert was a nice mix: some Holst and Tchaikovsky mixed with some lesser known marches and seasonal music, but all pretty traditional and accessible, which is what I like about this band. I get that college or high school groups sometimes tackle challenging works designed to stretch the musicians, but with this band, the goal seems to be pleasing the audience.

It’s also fun to see some familiar faces. My son’s now-retired marching band director is the associate conductor, some of the band kids and their parents play with this group, and there are a couple of swim team parents in there, too.

There wasn’t a very big turnout last night, despite the fact that the performance was free. I suspect one reason is that the band’s following includes a lot of senior citizens who might prefer not to drive at night in the dead of winter. Also being indoors, with no place to run around, makes it a lot less kid-friendly. The band usually gets a huge turnout for their outdoor concerts. They’ll be playing their spring concert on May 9 at James Monroe HS (theme: The Frontier and Beyond), and will perform “Music Under the Stars” on July 8 and Aug. 12, probably at Hurkamp Park. We plan to go to all of them.

I climbed to the top tier of the auditorium for the shot at top. These newer high schools have enormous auditoriums. I love to go to performances in them, where I never fail to get an aisle seat.

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