Community Winds Look Back in ‘Retrospectives’

Los Alamos Community Winds, with the Los Alamos Choral Society and Los Alamos High School Choirs and soloists perform Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, conducted by Dr. Ted Vives in May 2013. Photo by Glen Wurden
Los Alamos Daily Post

The Los Alamos Community Winds is taking a look back over its first 14 years. The upcoming concert “Retrospectives” includes highlights from past concerts (five of the six pieces have been performed previously by the Winds).

The concert is 7 p.m. Saturday, May 17 at Crossroads Bible Church. Like all Winds concerts, this one is free. A $10 donation is suggested to help support the Winds in bringing exceptional community concert band concerts to Los Alamos since 2001.

The first piece on the program, Amparito Roca (1936),by Spanish composer Jaime Texidor was on the program at the Winds’ very first concert April 28, 2001.

“We had about 30 people then and for this concert, we’ll have more than 50,” Winds Artistic Director Ted Vives said. “We’ve grown in size and also in quality.”

Amparito Roca is one of the most exacting pieces in Band repertoire to perform, Vives said.

Texidor wrote more than 100 Paso Dobles, the mainstay of the Spanish repertoire. Amparito Rocais one of the most well and known and beloved of all the Paso Dobles in the modern band literature, Vives said.

Next on the program is The Sinfonians, a symphonic march, written in 1960 by the American composer James Clifton Williams Jr. The Winds performed this piece in March 2004. It was composed for the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America.

The Winds will perform two longer pieces for this concert. The first, Georg Frideric Händel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks (1749), was originally presented by the Winds in November 2002.

Music for the Royal Fireworks was written to provide the musical backdrop to a huge celebration of the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, which ended the War of the Austrian Succession.

The celebration included a monument with a triumphal arch and colonnades including statues of Greek gods and a bas-relief of the king to serve as the centerpiece for an enormous fireworks display.

The music, one of the first pieces written for a large wind ensemble, was performed from a barge floating on the Thames, Vives said.

Although that performance may have been overshadowed by the fireworks display, during which a pavilion burned to the ground, it was well received at its rehearsal for more than 12,000 people, and the 100-piece band performed it in concert a month later.

The second longer piece on the program is The Moldau, Op.111, from Má Vlast (My Fatherland) written in 1874 by the Bohemian nationalist composer Bedřich Smetana. The piece was first performed by the Winds in March 2004.

The Moldau celebrates the Moldau River, which flows through Prague.

“This is one of the most descriptive works in winds literature,” Vives said. “It is extremely evocative and a real tour de force for a winds group. The woodwinds get a tremendous workout!”

Like the river itself, the piece gets larger and faster as it goes. The concert continues the theme with another piece about a famous river, Shenandoah (1999), by Frank Ticheli. This piece is new to the Winds repertoire.

The concert concludes with John Philip Sousa’s The Corcoran Cadets March (1890), first performed by the Winds July 4, 2010. What could be more fitting to celebrate band music and the Winds, than a spritely Souza march?

The Winds are looking ahead as well as back at this concert. The Winds will present two “Music Filled Life” scholarships at the concert. The scholarships will be awarded to seniors at Los Alamos High School (or home-schooled) music students who has been accepted into college. While the recipient won’t be required to major in music, specific plans to further their music education and make music a part of their life are required.

“As a community band, we want to encourage young musicians to continue with their music, whatever career they pursue,” Vives said.

Many student musicians play with the Winds as well as with the High School band.

The Winds hope to celebrate many more years, bringing concert band music to the Los Alamos community, Vives said.

“Working with the people in the Winds has been a wonderful experience,” he said. “They are so talented and gifted.”

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