Something for everyone

January 22, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Marches, an operatic excerpt, and a Billy Joel piece - though it might not be what you expect - are among the musical pieces to be heard at the Cumberland Valley School of Music's Community Symphonic Band concert this weekend.

"We've programmed a great variety of music. I like to think I include something for everybody in this concert," Conductor David Wenerd says.

That variety includes Billy Joel's "Air (Dublinesque)," in which, Wenerd says, the rocker-turned-classical composer plays with original Irish themes while quoting 20th century English composers Gustav Holst and Percy Grainger.

Also on the program are some lesser-known marches such as John Philip Sousa's "The Minnesota March" and Edmund Lffler's "Atlantik Marsch." The latter is a German march, which in the typical European-march style is slower than American marches.


"La Forza del Destino" is a romantic 19th-century overture from the Italian opera of the same name. Wenerd says the 7-minute, 45-second-long piece is what is called a warhorse in musical circles. It's a challenge with a lot of beautiful technical flourishes, he says.

Another piece with technical challenges, Wenerd says, as well as soaring melodies and lots of percussion is "In Flight," a contemporary classical composition created by Pittsburgh resident Samuel Hazo.

A selection Wenerd is looking forward to personally is Franz Biebl's "Ave Maria." It's the transcription of a choral piece that was arranged for symphonic band by Robert Cameron, band director at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

Cameron's arrangement is so unlike others' of the popular piece that the melody doesn't sound like the "Ave Maria" many people are familiar with, Wenerd says.

Originally composed by Biebl in 8-part harmony for a choir with chants, the chants have become instrumental soloists.

"It starts quite quietly and contemplatively and it grows to a very lush ending," Wenerd says.

The band, which will feature 65 members Sunday afternoon, consists of full woodwind, brass and percussion sections.

Founded in the early 1990s by Wenerd and Meagan Boozer, the band holds two concerts a year; the other concert is on the evening of Memorial Day in Chambersburg Memorial Park.

Many members are adults who once played an instrument, but perhaps had not played in a long time before joining. They come from the Tri-State area and beyond; some drive from as far as the Baltimore area and Front Royal, Va.

If you go ...

WHAT: Cumberland Valley School of Music Community Symphonic Band

WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25

WHERE: Chambersburg Area Middle School auditorium

COST: Free

MORE: For more information, call 717-261-1220 or go to

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