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From the Podium

We are honored and excited this afternoon to present a collaboration with the Plano Senior High School Wind Ensemble. This outstanding group is led by Director of Bands and Principal Conductor Jason Lewis and assisted by Associate Directors Michael Hernandez and Jacob Diewald. The Plano Senior High School Wind Ensemble will be featured in the second half of the concert as they give a final “home” performance before departing for Indianapolis to perform at the Music for All National Festival, an invitation-only event in March.

For the PCB’s portion of the program, I will be sharing the podium with my outstanding Associate Conductor Jim Carter.  Jim will be showcasing the Plano Community Band with two contrasting pieces, one written for concert band and the other an orchestral transcription. Spangled Heavens (in three movements) by Donald Grantham and Danzón No.2 by Arturo Marquez provide distinct musical themes and put the agility of our musicians and wonderful instrumental colors on display. I will be opening the concert with the delightful Overture from The Marriage of Figaro by W. A. Mozart, followed by the hauntingly beautiful adaptation of a choral setting by Morton Lauridsen, Contra Qui, Rose.

We sincerely hope you enjoy this afternoon’s performances by musicians of all ages and talents as the Plano Community Band and Plano Senior High School Wind Ensemble present, “Goin’ Places.”

Program Notes

Overture from the Marriage of Figaro

Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro premiered in May 1786 in Vienna at the Burgtheater and is one of three operas that Mozart created with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte (the other two are Don Giovanni and Cosi fan tutti). In many respects, The Marriage of Figaro marked the high point of Mozart’s success during his lifetime. On a visit to Prague the following year to conduct the opera, Mozart reported that “Here nothing is talked of but Figaro, nothing played but Figaro, nothing whistled or sung but Figaro, no opera so crowded as Figaro, nothing but Figaro.”

Mozart customarily composed the overtures to his operas last, so that was likely the case with Figaro. Mozart’s overtures were usually in sonata form, but he abandoned that form here, and for good reason. Figaro is witty, brilliant and wise, and it needs an overture that will quickly set its audience in such a frame of mind. The music opens with bustling notes, like whispers of gossip which gain momentum. Ultimately, these fragments gel into an energetic theme which romps happily throughout the Overture.  Moods shift like quicksilver; a comedic helter-skelter atmosphere prevails; and there is no rest. At one point, Mozart had considered a contrasting slow tune for oboe but deleted the idea.  Allowing the Overture to run with its madcap nature, uninterrupted by any structural corseting, provided the perfect introduction and preparation for the hilarious opera. It has delighted audiences as a separate concert piece for hundreds of years.

Contre Qui, Rose

“Contre Qui, Rose” is a direct transcription of the vocal piece by Morten Lauridsen. Lauridsen based his choral cycle Les Chansons des Roses (The Songs of the Roses) on poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke. This poem poses a series of unanswered questions to a rose about its thorns and concludes with a statement accusing the rose of most hurting those who love it. Lauridsen interprets, “This wonderful little poem poses a series of questions, and the corresponding musical phrases all end with unresolved harmonies, as the questions remain unanswered. We have all been in situations where we have given affection and not had it returned, where attempts at communication have been unsuccessful, met by resistance or defenses of some kind.” Reynolds’ transcription captures this beauty in the wind band setting.

Against whom, rose,

Have you assumed these thorns?
Is it your too fragile joy that forced you
to become this armed thing?

But from whom does it protect you,
this exaggerated defense?
How many enemies have I lifted from you
who do not fear it at all?
On the contrary, from summer to autumn
you wound the affection that is given you.

Spangled Heavens

Spangled Heavens is one in a series of the composer’s works based on “shape-note music.” Shape notes are a musical notation designed to facilitate congregational and community singing. Shape-note songs are hearty, simple, rhythmic, and always singable. The notation, introduced in 1801, became a popular teaching device in American singing schools. Shapes were added to the note heads in written music to help singers find pitches within major and minor scales without the use of more complex information found in key signatures on the staff. Shape notes of various kinds have been used for over two centuries in a variety of music traditions, mostly sacred but also secular, originating in New England, practiced primarily in the Southern region of the United States for many years, and now experiencing a renaissance in other locations as well. The first movement of Spangled Heavens is based on “Holy Manna,” an old American folk hymn, and features three contrasting presentations of the tune. The second movement is based on the hymn “Restoration.” And movement three employs two contrasting but complementary hymns, “Sweet Canaan” and “Saints Bound for Heaven.”

Donald Grantham (b.1947) is an American composer and music educator. He received music degrees from the University of Oklahoma and the University of Southern California. He teaches music composition at the University of Texas. 

Danzón No. 2

From the composer:

“The idea of writing the ‘Danzón No. 2’ originated in 1993 during a trip to Malinalco with the painter Andrés Fonseca and the dancer Irene Martínez, both of whom are experts in salon dances with a special passion for the danzón, which they were able to transmit to me from the beginning, and also during later trips to Veracruz and visits to the Colonia Salon in Mexico City. From these experiences onward, I started to learn the danzón’s rhythms, its form, its melodic outline, and to listen to the old recordings by Acerina and his Danzonera Orchestra. I was fascinated and I started to understand that the apparent lightness of the danzón is only like a visiting card for a type of music full of sensuality and qualitative seriousness, a genre which old Mexican people continue to dance with a touch of nostalgia and a jubilant escape towards their own emotional world; we can fortunately still see this in the embrace between music and dance that occurs in the state of Veracruz and in the dance parlors of Mexico City.

The ‘Danzón No. 2’ is a tribute to the environment that nourishes the genre. It endeavors to get as close as possible to the dance, to its nostalgic melodies, to its wild rhythms, and although it violates its intimacy, its form and its harmonic language, it is a very personal way of paying my respects and expressing my emotions towards truly popular music. ‘Danzón No. 2’ was written on a commission by the Department of Musical Activities at Mexico’s National Autonomous University and is dedicated to my daughter Lily.”

Halcyon Hearts

HALCYON HEARTS is an ode to love and how it affects us all. Halcyon denotes a time where a person is ideally happy or at peace, so in short Halcyon Hearts is about the moment of peace when one finds their love or passion. The piece centers around major 7ths and warm colors to represent the warmth that love brings us. The  introduction-which is sudden and colorful- symbolizes the feeling of the unexpected journey it takes to find love. Using the colors and natural energy of the ensemble, we create this sound of ambition and passion throughout the work. No matter what race, gender, religion, nationality or love, we all are united with the common thread of passion from the heart.

This piece was written in dedication to those who love no matter what negativity is in the world; do not allow hate and prejudice to guide the way we live our lives. Always choose love and the halcyon days will come.

The Seeker: A Symphonic Movement for Wind Ensemble

In Buddhist tradition, the bodhisattvas are the seekers after enlightenment. It can be said that we are all seekers on this path, the path of self-understanding, of the heart of compassion, of caring for the world.

The bodhisattvas are put forward as models for our own seeking:

  • Avalokiteshvara: the way of listening in order to relieve the suffering in the world.
  • Manjushri: the way of being still and looking deeply into the heart of things and people.
  • Samantabhadra: the way of acting with the eyes and heart of compassion.
  • Ksitigarbha: the way of being present where there is darkness, suffering, oppression, and despair.
  • Sadāparibhūta: the way of never disparaging or underestimating any living being.

 

The Seeker is subtitled “a symphonic movement.” It opens with a slow melody that feels like an Appalachian folk song. It transitions suddenly and sharply into the main body of the work, an energetic and exuberant romp at a very speedy tempo. The opening melody returns in the context of a chorale, my recomposition of Christe, der du bist der Tag und Licht (Christ, you who are day and light) from the 371 four-part chorales of Bach. The movement concludes with a partial recap of the fast music, and a very brief coda.

The Melody Shop

The Melody Shop was one of King’s earliest published marches, written when the composer was nineteen years old. Composed in the virtuosic style of the circus march, the baritone part has long been notorious for its dizzying and extremely difficult final strain. One popular legend explaining this challenging part involves a chance meeting in a Canton, Ohio, barbershop between King and a stranger. The stranger was also a baritone player and he struck up a conversation with King, not knowing the composer’s identity. The stranger referred to King as “that guy who writes those dinky, little marches.” The story goes that this was all the urging King needed to make The Melody Shop baritone part one of the most famous in all band repertoire.

Irish Tune From County Derry

Irish Tune from County Derry (published 1918) is based on earlier settings that date back as early as October 1902 with an essentially identical setting of this melody for wordless mixed chorus. Later versions for solo piano (1911) and string orchestra with two optional horns (1912) followed. The wind band setting is cataloged as British Folk Music Setting Nr. 20, and like all his settings of British folk music is “lovingly dedicated to the memory of Edvard Grieg.” The composer’s brief program note states, “This tune was collected by Miss J. Ross, of New Town, Limavady, Co Derry, Ireland and published in The Petrie Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland, Dublin, 1855.”

Southern Harmony

In 1835, William “Singin’ Billy” Walker’s songbook Southern Harmony was first published. This remarkable collection  contains, according to its title page, “a choice collection of tunes, hymns, psalms, odes and anthems; selected from the most eminent authors in the United States.” In fact, few of the numbers in the book are identified as the work of a particular composer. Many are folk songs (provided with religious texts), others are traditional sacred tunes, while some are revival songs that were widely known and sung throughout the South. The book was immensely popular, selling an amazing 600,000 copies before the Civil War, and was commonly stocked “along with groceries and tobacco” in general stores across the American frontier. From 1884 until World War II, an annual all-day mass performance of selections from Southern Harmony, called the “Benton Big Singing”, was held on the Benton, Kentucky, courthouse lawn. The event drew  participants from Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Illinois.

The music of Southern Harmony has a somewhat exotic sound to modern audiences. The tunes often use modal or pentatonic rather than major or minor scales. The harmony is even more out of the ordinary, employing chord positions, voice leading and progressions that are far removed from the European music that dominated concert halls at the time. These harmonizations were dismissed as crude and primitive when they first appeared. Now they are regarded as inventive, unique, and powerfully representative of the American character.

In his use of several tunes from Southern Harmony, the composer has attempted to preserve the flavor of the original vocal works in a setting that fully realizes the potential of the wind ensemble and the individual character of each song.

Tico-Tico

“Tico-Tico” is a world-famous song by Brazilian composer Zequinha de Abreu. Abreu wrote the song in 1917 in the popular Brazilian choro style, which is characterized by fast rhythms, syncopations, and lots of counterpoint. The song was originally scored for the choro ensemble, which usually consisted of several guitars, a cavaquinho (a small four-stringed guitar), and a melody instrument, often a flute. The full title “Tico-Tico no Fubá”, meaning “sparrow in the cornmeal,” was given to the song in 1931 when it was published in Brazil, to distinguish it from a different popular tune also named “Tico-Tico.”

In the 1940s, the song became a hit in the United States, and it has been recorded worldwide by a variety of artists in many different settings. Carmen Miranda popularized it internationally in the 1947 movie Copacabana. This concert band arrangement pays homage to the original choro ensemble by using the woodwinds for much of the melody. The brass and percussion often provide the rhythm and groove of the piece. The arrangement was written by Japanese composer Naohiro Iwai. Most of Iwai’s career was spent as a jazz and pop performer and composer. He has made an effort to bring these styles to groups like wind ensembles, brass ensembles, and orchestras that more often play in the Classical style.

Meet the Artists

Plano Community Band

The Plano Community Band is a volunteer organization made up of approximately 70 musicians from all walks of life who share a passion for music. The band performs two Spring concerts and a Fall concert each year at the beautiful Eisemann Center in Richardson, but is best known for its Summer concerts at Haggard Park, in old downtown Plano. The Summer Series begins the first Monday in June, and performances at the park continue every other Monday evening for a total of five concerts. The band has themes for each concert including kids’ night, big band and a patriotic concert.

The band is a nonprofit organization sponsored in part by the Plano Cultural Arts Commission. The band is also supported by John Paul II High School, member dues and from generous donors in the community. There is never an admission charged for any of the band’s public performances.

The Plano Community Band is a proud member of the Association of Concert Bands, an international organization dedicated to the advancement of adult community bands. The band has performed at several of their national conventions as well as hosted the conventions in 1992 and 2010, and recently performed at the 2022 convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  The PCB will be hosting the 2024 Regional Convention at Richardson High School in June 2024.

Joe Frank, Jr. - Artistic Director

Plano Community Band’s Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, is a retired music educator and band director with over 35 years of experience working with student and adult musicians in Texas and Georgia. He was born in Harlingen in the Rio Grande Valley and spent most of his adult years in Richardson and Sherman, Texas. Joe is a third-generation band director. His father, Joe Frank, Sr., was a well-known Texas band director and orchestra director and charter member of the Phi Beta Mu Band Director Hall of Fame. Joe taught for 17 years in the Richardson ISD where mentors such as Joe Frank, Sr.; Richard Floyd; Tommy Guilbert; Robert Floyd and Howard Dunn helped form his concepts of teaching students and interpreting, rehearsing and performing wind band literature. In 1990, Joe became Director of Bands for the Sherman ISD and helped lead the Sherman Bands to 14 years of successful performances, competitions and statewide recognition. While living in Athens, Georgia, Joe became director of the Classic City Band and developed a love for working and making music with adults. Joe currently lives in Denison, Texas, with his wife, Becky. He is a frequent clinic/consultant and adjudicator for middle school and high school bands. His daughter, Jessica, is an  accountant and volunteer youth leader. She currently plays clarinet in the PCB. His son, Jeff, is a pediatric neurologist in Oregon. Joe enjoys sailing, golf, snow skiing, and traveling with Becky.

Jim Carter - Associate Conductor, Business Manager & Event Coordinator

Plano Community Band’s Associate Conductor, Business Manager, and Event Coordinator, was born in Texas City, Texas, and has made Plano his home since 1969, going through the Plano schools and the band program at Plano Senior High. During his high school days, Jim was privileged to have played with Doc Severinsen and Alan Vizzutti, and his first love always seemed to be jazz. After graduation, he was selected to play with the National Bandmasters Association Jazz Band, performing with Marvin Stamm at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Jim attended Sam Houston State University on a music scholarship, receiving his degree in Music Education in 1991. While at Sam Houston, Jim studied under Dr. Fisher Tull, Dr. Gary Sousa and Dr. Rod Cannon. Jim also headed up the recording and archiving of concert performances and was a member of Kappa Kappa Psi. After teaching a couple of years, Jim returned to Plano and began working in the communications field. He currently holds the position of Director of A/V and Computer Services for the 4,500-member Custer Road United Methodist Church. To keep music in his life, Jim joined the Plano Community Band in 1993 as the baritone saxophone player. Jim also plays with many Dallas-area jazz and big bands. He became the Band’s associate conductor in 1995.

Plano Senior High School Wind Ensemble - Guest Artist

Plano, TX is a northern suburb of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex with a population of over 275,000. Plano Senior High School is a campus of only juniors and seniors and is one of three senior high campuses in the Plano Independent School District. Plano Senior High School is steeped in a strong and rich history of music making at its finest. The Performing Arts Department is a proud two-time recipient of the Grammy Signature School Gold Award, recognizing the top US public high schools that are making an outstanding commitment to music education.

The Plano Senior High School Wind Ensemble is the premier performing ensemble of the Plano Band program. The 47-students onstage today come from our 7 feeder schools and are the finest musicians on campus. The Plano Band program as a whole consists of the Plano Wildcat Marching Band, three performing concert bands, 2 jazz ensembles, various percussion ensembles, as well as a vibrant chamber music program. Additionally, some of our students also participate in the PSHS Symphony Orchestra.

The Plano Senior High School Wind Ensemble is thrilled to be the first ensemble from the Plano Independent School District to perform at the prestigious National Concert Band Festival. We are grateful for the support of our administration, private teaching staff and our band parent community for their tireless and unyielding efforts to help us get here today.

Jason Lewis, Director of Bands, Plano Sr. High School

Jason Lewis is the Director of Bands at Plano Senior High School. He oversees all aspects of the band program at PSHS, and is the principal conductor of the Wind Ensemble and serves as Co-Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra. He received his Bachelor of Music from The University of Texas and his Master of Music from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Prior to coming to Plano Senior High  School, Mr. Lewis was the Director of Bands at Clark High School in Plano. He has also served as Associate Director of Bands at PSHS and Vines High School. Under Mr. Lewis’s direction, his bands have received sweepstakes awards at UIL competitions and top honors at music festivals. Before becoming a band director, Mr. Lewis taught private horn lessons in the Richardson and
Plano ISDs and also served as a member of the adjunct faculty at Midwestern State University and Texas Woman’s University.
Mr. Lewis remains an active performer in the DFW area. He is a member of the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra and performs with the Dallas Winds and several professional groups and churches in the area. His professional affiliations include Texas Music Educators’ Association and the DFW chapter of the American Federation of Musicians.

Jacob Diewald, Associate Director of Bands, Plano Sr. High School

Jacob Diewald serves as Associate Director of Bands at Plano Senior High School. He teaches both Plano Jazz Ensembles, Concert Band 1, and Co-teaches the Marching Band. Outside of school, Mr. Diewald maintains a busy schedule as a performer freelancing around the greater Dallas area. He is one of the resident trumpet players with the Dallas Based Brass Band, Baba Yaga Orkestar. In  2022, The BYO produced their first album “Verni Drugari” and has performed at venues such as TMEA, The House of Blues, Revelers Hall, The Texas State Fair, and many others. During the summers, Mr. Diewald serves on the Brass Staff of The Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps where he has been since the 2019 season. Mr. Diewald is a proud graduate of Texas Tech University where he received a Bachelor Degree in Music Education, a Jazz Studies Certificate, and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Michael Hernandez, Associate Director of Bands/Percussion Coordinator, Plano Sr. High School

Michael Anthony Hernandez is the Associate Director of Bands/Percussion Coordinator for Plano Senior High School Cluster and serves as the Plano Senior High School Performing Arts Department Chair. An alumnus of the University of North Texas, Michael conducts the Plano Symphonic and Concert 2 Bands. As a systems developer, Hernandez has been associated with the Plano Cluster Music program since 1991. He has performed with the Dallas Wind Symphony, Allen Symphony, and the Richardson Symphony. Michael was a member of the Desperadoes Steel Band and the Serenaders Traditional Steel Band in Trinidad and Tobago and the DFW-based Panhandlers Steel Band. His marching percussion experiences include the Sky Ryders and the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle. He also helped develop Drop6 Media, Inc., and co-coordinates of the University of North Texas Marching Percussion Camp. Hernandez’ professional affiliations include American Federation of Musicians (AFM), Percussive Arts Society (PAS), Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA), and National Bandmasters Association (NBA).

THANK YOU TO OUR SUPPORTERS

The Plano Community Band sincerely thanks our 2023-2024 Season Donors. Your contributions allow us to continue to perform free concerts for North Texas! To become a donor, click here.

The Plano Community Band participates in rewards programs with Kroger, GoodShop, and Tom Thumb. Click here for more information!

UPCOMING EVENTS

Click here to see our upcoming concert schedule. We look forward to seeing you again!