Los Alamos Community Winds will celebrate light, hope and renewal in their upcoming concert, “Finlandia! and Other Brilliant Lights.”
The concert will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 at Crossroads Bible Church. The concert is a benefit for the New Mexico Alzheimer’s Association.
As always, Winds concerts are free of charge. A suggested donation of $10 will be appreciated and will benefit the work of the NM Alzheimer’s Association.
The Dixie Girl restaurant will have a special pre-concert light dinner and cocktails menu to get concert-goers in the mood.
“For this concert, we selected music we thought would be appropriate and moving,” Winds Musical Director Ted Vives said. “We also want to point out how music can be used as therapy for Alzheimer’s patients.”
Music has been successfully used as therapy for Alzheimer’s patients for a number of years. Because music has such a strong connection to memory, it can be helpful as a trigger to positive social interaction and getting in touch with emotions, as well as facilitate cognitive function.
The physical aspects of music, from dancing to toe tapping can improve motor functions. Because rhythmic and other well-rehearsed responses require little to no cognitive or mental processing, a person’s ability to engage in music remains intact late into the disease process.
The Winds worked with Executive Director Pauline Schneider of the Los Alamos Senior Center to organize the benefit concert. Schneider is herself a music therapist.
“Los Alamos has the highest rate of Alzheimer’s in New Mexico,” Schneider said. “This is an important issue in our community.”
Other Los Alamos events to bring awareness to the issue and promote Alzheimer’s research and treatment include the Jay Bower Memorial Run May 11 and the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Sept. 28.
A support group for those concerned with Alzheimer’s meets at 1:15 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month at the Betty Ehart Senior Center.
“We encourage people to come. The facilitator of the group is extremely skilled,” Schneider said.
The centerpiece of the upcoming concert is Finlandia, Op. 26, No. 7 (1899) by Jean Sibelius (1865 – 1957.) Sibelius imbued his music with the spirit of the Finnish people and the majesty of the Finnish landscape, including the spectacular northern lights.
Written during the Finnish struggle for independence from Czarist Russia, the work presents the composer’s vision of a triumphant, independent Finland.
The Winds often presents modern music that audiences may not have heard before. This concert is no exception.
The first piece on the program is Carolyn Bremer’s Early Light. Early Light was written for the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and received its premier performance in July 1995.
The material is largely derived from The Star Spangled Banner. The composer, a passionate baseball fan since childhood, drew upon her feelings of happy anticipation at hearing the anthem played before ball games when writing her piece.
Alfred Reed’s Othello (1977) captures the passion for Shakespeare’s tragedy. With more than 200 published works for band, wind ensemble, orchestra, chorus and various smaller chamber music groups, Reed is one of the nation’s most prolific and frequently performed modern composers.
Symphony on Themes of John Philip Sousa (1991) by Ira Hearshen brings the stirring, intense themes of Sousa to the concert stage.
Sousa himself is represented by The Thunderer (1889.) The march was dedicated to Columbia Commandery No. 2, Knights Templar, of Washington D.C., and was Mrs. Sousa’s favorite march.
Malcolm Arnold’s Prelude, Siciliano, and Rondo (1963, 1979) and Blue Lake (1971) by John Barnes Chance complete the program.
May 5 and 14, the Los Alamos Community Winds will be joined by the Los Alamos High School Choral Program and the Los Alamos Choral Society in a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor.
“Our goal is to have a choir of at least 200 singers,” Vives said.
Rehearsals are Tuesday evenings at the United Church.