Last fall, Bridgewater Fire Department Band director Wendell Eisener was returning to his vehicle after the band played in a parade, when he was stopped by a young couple from out-of-province who asked him directions to a local restaurant. Then, motioning to the snare drum slung over his shoulder, they asked him, “Do you play in a marching band?” “No,” he replied, after a moment’s hesitation, “I play in a band that does some parade work.”
That humorous moment provided the inspiration for the programming of the BFD Band’s spring concert, “Spring Winds,” which will be held on Sunday, April 28 at Lunenburg’s St John’s Anglican Church.
“We have a bit of an image problem,” says Eisener. “And the problem is that we encounter 99 percent of our annual audience while doing parades, but we’re really not a ‘marching band.’ That term is more appropriate for the American high school and college bands with hundreds of players who do all sorts of fancy moves and play really loudly during football games. That’s not us. While we do the parade work that we have to do, and take pride in doing it, we are primarily a concert band, an ensemble that sits down to play music, either indoors or outdoors. So this year’s spring concert is modelled after an orchestral programme complete an overture, concerto, and a symphonic work — not the sort of music you would play at a football game or marching up Dufferin Hill.”
“Spring Winds” features both original music for concert band as well as transcriptions of orchestral and choral music, chosen by Eisener precisely because it is not the sort of music ever played by a “marching band.”
The concert opens with Aaron Copeland’s iconic Fanfare for the Common Man and continues with Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, incidental music first performed in 1810 for a play by the same name by Geothe. Bandmaster Lt. Kerri Dorey, CD1, is the featured soloist in Nicolai Rimski-Korsakov’s Clarinet Concerto, which he wrote in 1878 while Inspector of Bands for the Russian Imperial Navy. The band returns after intermission with Edvard Grieg’s Homage March. The “symphonic” piece on the program is Gordon Jacob’s six-movement William Byrd Suite. Composed for concert band almost 100 years ago, the suite remains a staple of early 20th-century symphonic band repertoire of along with the works of Grainer, Holst, and Vaughn Williams. The concert ends with Hugh S. Roberton’s lovely All in the April Evening, a fitting conclusion for an Eastertide concert in beautiful St John’s Church.
The concert begins at 3 p.m. Admission is by donation at the door with proceeds going to the Band’s Overseas 2020 Travel Fund.