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.