Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Worst Performances of Holiday Favorites Ever on the Internet

By John King

I’d like to share an annual tradition I’ve started of listening to the following selections every year around the holiday season.  I hope you’ll agree that they are the worst versions of these pieces that you have ever heard.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Tuba Solo

Chris Clark, tuba, performs Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer at the Montgomery Village Holiday concert, December, 2008.
video courtesy of Pete Ludgate

See also:
Worst Performances of Holiday Favorites Ever listen >
Audio and video of Fall, 2011 performances listen & view >

Audio/Video of Fall, 2011 Performances

Halloween Concert - October 30, 2011
Night on Bald Mountain – M. Mussorgsky (arr Williams)

Ghost of the Band Room - G.W. Bowie

Audio courtesy of Mary and Ted Hartz

Falcons Landing Concert - November 6, 2011

Joe Rosen's Falcons Landing March

Tom Nixon's Flight of the Falcon

A Bernstein Tribute conducted by Len Morse

Videos courtesy of Pete Ludgate.

See also:
Worst Performances of Holiday Favorites Ever listen >
Flashback: Chris Clark performs Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Dec. 2008 view >

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Conductor's Corner - Christmas Music

- contributed by Gordon Bowie

Every Christmas and holiday season reminds us of how important our musical traditions are in marking the passage of the year. For me, the songs that mark the holiday season are among the most enduring musical memories, precisely because they come back at the same time year after year.

Anthropologists often describe a culture in terms of its “annual round.”  Plant in the spring, go off raiding in the summer, harvest in the fall, hunt meat in the late fall, have a big fire celebration to welcome the sun back at new year’s, etc. Whatever it is or was.....

Band members in our culture have an “annual round” too.  Veteran’s Day Patriotic music, Christmas and Hanukkah music, New Years and “Should Auld Acquaintance be Forgot”  exploration of some serious works in the Winter and Spring, then patriotic music for the Fourth of July, and we do it all over again. 

Library Work Session - Weds Dec 14 - Volunteers Needed

Dear Band Members,

December is a busy time for us all and I want to thank you for your participation and fine volunteer spirit as we head into the month’s many musical duties.  The tree lighting was a huge success for the band, with a sizeable crowd out to hear Bob Hydorn, greet Santa, sing carols along with the “band,” watch the tree light up to the strains of  “O Tannenbaum” and have hot chocolate afterwards.  Nine hardy souls and I sounded just fine on the traditional carols, and didn’t get too frozen.  Thank you!

Next is the MVF Board party for which Bill Brasile has organized a mostly clarinet woodwind quartet, which should be a little different from the past few years, and show the board another facet of our band.  Thank you Bill, Marlin, Paul and Amanda!

Potato Peels

- contributed by Marlin Strand

So the Maine Small potatoes to Big dreams program is a success. Gordon was able to get the George Jennings scores on loan from the Bangor Band, and we can begin the process to make them ready for Prime Time with the MVCB , and perhaps even perform a couple late this season.

The small “perfect bound” band portfolios appear to date to pre WWII and contain ten of the Jennings marches. Most of the pieces are copyrighted around 1894. Also included are nineteen other march gems including some well known (King Cotton – JP Sousa himself!), RB Hall (The Red Men’s March w/ note “respectfully dedicated to the order of RED MEN”), a Wagner, and the CS Grafulla Washington Grays March, just in time for Spring Training.

CD Review: Christmas Cheers by Straight No Chaser

- contributed by Len Morse

Music can be found just about everywhere, and it is often created by musicians with high-quality instruments, but sometimes voices alone can be plenty. Therefore, a CD from Straight No Chaser, the ten-man contemporary a capella sensation, should be at the top of your Christmas gift list this year. Their second album, Christmas Cheers, was released in 2009 and provides the catchy rhythms, smooth harmonies, memorable lyrics, and good-natured humor for which SNC is known.

Almost everyone can relate to the CD’s first tune, The Christmas Can-Can, which pokes fun at the annual Christmas marketing season, which seems to get longer each year. This piece contains interpolations of Offenbach’s opera “Orpheus in the Underworld” and many recognizable holiday tunes, but completely original lyrics, thanks to group member and arranger Walt.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Summer of Many Styles

Contributed by Len Morse

Being musicians, we realize that we each have busy, non-musical lives outside of the Montgomery Village Community Band. We engage in various activities to keep our lives moving, hopefully in the directions we want: jobs, family, relationships, finances, friends, and other facets of human existence come together when we’re not at a MVCB rehearsal or performance venue.

As for the musical highlights of my summer, the academy (see below) was by far the highlight of my year, so it will take up most of this article.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Musician's Dictionary

contributed by Marlin Strand

AGENT: a character who resents performers getting 90% of his salary.
ARRANGER: a guy who writes to support a bad habit or "other" arrangements
BALLET: an art form for people with eating disorders
BANDSTAND: the area furthest away from an electrical outlet
BIG BAND: nowadays, an aggregation consisting of two musicians.
BROADWAY PIT JOB: a prison sentence disguised as a gig.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Trombone King - Halloween, 2008

In October, 2008, Gordon performed Karl King's 'The Trombone King'.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

'Ghost of the Band Room' Explained

The Bangor Band regularly rehearsed in the top floor of what is now known as The Isaac Farrar Mansion (166 Union St/ 17 2nd St, Bangor) from the 1920s or early 1930s until the building was purchased by the YWCA in the 1970s.  During those years the house was known as Symphony House and was originally a project of the Bangor Symphony and later the site of a music teaching school known as The Northern Conservatory of Music.

Prior to the Symphony's acquisition of the mansion, the Farrar family had a tragic death on the top floor of the mansion, said to have been their daughter's suicide by hanging.   The rooms on the top floor were said to be haunted by her ghost.  The rear door and kitchen area were also haunted by a poltergeist of a small boy who would mischievously rattle and rearrange the coat hangers, lamps and chairs in the rear area, with no explanation.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Conductor's Corner - New Season Welcome!

September 22, 2011

It was great to see everybody last night, and to get into the band season once again. I’m grateful to Len for taking the first two rehearsals, and getting so much good learning started on our pieces. Likewise I am grateful for all the help and pitching in that has made it possible to get the season off to a good start in my absence.

The Music Man - Nov. 18-27

Trouble's coming to River City.  The Potomac Theater Company presents Meredith Willson's  The Music Man November 18, 19, & 20 and November 25, 26, & 27, 2011 (Friday and Saturdays at 8pm and Sunday matinees at 2pm).  Our own Tom Nixon is in the pit.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thank You from the Bangor Band

The Montgomery Village Community Band recently made a donation to the Bangor Band for 'the Potato Project' in order to acquire copies of the marches of George E. Jennings and received this Thank You:

"The Sorcerer's Apprentice"

For your viewing and listening pleasure, here's an online video clip  (YouTube) of Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."   If you haven't seen this classic recently, I'm sure that seeing it again will enhance your musical experience of playing Paul Dukas' music with the band.  It's 11 minutes of pure delight.  Enjoy!  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Presidential Address - Fall, 2011

- from John King

I want to welcome everyone to another season of great music-making with the Montgomery Village Community Band. I look forward to serving again as president. More importantly, I'm thrilled that we will continue to have the pleasure to play under the baton of Dr. Gordon Bowie and assistant conductor Len Morse.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Clarinet Flood (a limerick)

Clarinet Flood

Potato Man went off to the wood,
to cut, chop and saw like he should.
To heat his rude home,
in those mountains alone,
And put up Oak cords if he could.

Throughout the long day he did sweat;
even his earlobe was wet.
He strained and he strove,
the wood he did hove,
and the logs were right sized and all set.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"Bluegrass on the Farm" Festival, Sat, Sept 10

If you like traditional bluegrass music, you'll enjoy the annual "Bluegrass on the Farm" festival being held this Saturday, Sept 10, noon 'til 6pm, at the Agricultural History Farm Park. The Park is located at 18400 Muncaster Rd in Derwood, MD.  See the  BotF website  for more info about the rain-or-shine event  go >

Friday, August 12, 2011

Conductor's Corner - Community Bands

Community bands mean many things to many people.  A century ago most towns had town bands that played music for all kinds of functions.  Many considered themselves to be professional or semi-professional, and played dances and picnics as well as public and civic events. They also served as instructional bands for the young players coming up, because there were no band programs in the schools.

Video of Royal British Legion Brass Band at Kennedy Center

The Royal British Legion Brass Band performs at Gaithersburg City Hall Concert Pavilion Saturday August 13 at 7pm.

Here is a video of their performance last night at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage  view video >

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Browningsville Cornet Band featured on local TV

Montgomery County Cable TV recently produced an episode for their series "Paths to the Present" that features the Browningsville Cornet Band and its history. The Browningsville band is directed by our own Amanda McCurry. The band segment starts about 6 minutes into the 15-minute video: Paths to the Present. You'll see some familiar faces since several MVCBand members also play with the Browningsville band.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Valdresspringar and Norwegian Hardanger Fiddle Music and Dance

contributed by Martin Misakian

Excerpts of Marlin Strand’s remarks below about Hanssen’s Valdres March, the Valdres region of Norway, and the Hardanger fiddle (March issue of MVCB Newsletter) prompted me to ask a friend, Ross Schipper, to describe a Norwegian folk dance, Valdresspringar, and music from the same region.  Ross, who plays the Hardanger fiddle, also teaches Norwegian and Swedish folk dances with his wife Linda Brooks in the Washington area.  Ross’ remarks follow excerpts from Marlin’s article.

Maine Potato Benefit for MVCB

Contributed by Marlin Strand, potato and licorice stick man

From Small Potatoes……………..
Ask somebody to respond with a single word to “the State of Maine” and half of them say Lobster. The other half, save one, respond with something related to the majesty of nature “down east’ such as pine forests, green horizons, moose, hunting and water. Did you know that the state insect was the honeybee or that the state gemstone was tourmaline? How about the Maine Bears? They are a perennial leader in NCAA Baseball. Or politicians? Edmund Muskie ran unsuccessfully for the presidential nomination in the seventies. And he wasn’t a fish (although he could be quite bland) such as a haddock or codfish, (known as scrod when they are young, and a feature of that Southern Mecca (to Mainers) Bahhhhstohhn (Boston.) And wrong again, scrod is not the past tense of that word your stand-mate uses to characterize your playing after you’ve blown a harmonic sixteenth run-up into the trio!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Jazz Jam Sessions Return to Roy's Place

The Summer Jam Session is Back for it's 6th consecutive year!

Looking for a place to hear jazz and/or try out your jazz chops in Upper Montgomery County? Tired of driving downtown for a jazz jam session? Come and jam with The Perry Conticchio Jazz Quartet at Roy's Place - Sandwich Heaven - in Olde Towne Gaithersburg on Sunday evenings starting the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, May 29th from 7pm-10pm. Instrumentalists are warmly invited to come, listen and jam. Whether you play, sing or just want to listen and enjoy a great time, come on out. Good Food & Drink. No Cover! Jam Night specials on food and drink.

Roy's Place is located on 2 E. Diamond St., Gaithersburg, 20877. Questions? call Roy's Place at (301) 947-5548. /more info/

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Royal British Legion Brass Band - Gaithersburg, August 13 7PM

Hi, All.  
Chris Clark (tuba player) wants to spread the word that the British are coming.  More specifically:
The Royal British Legion Brass Band will be performing at the Gaithersburg Concert Pavilion on Saturday, August 13th at 7pm. 
It's a free outdoor performance, with seating on the grassy lawn under the trees at City Hall (31 South Summit Ave) in Old Towne Gaithersburg.  Be sure to bring your family, a picnic, and a blanket or lawn chairs.