It’s Tyme for Shakespeare with the LA Community Winds

Los Alamos Community Winds is set to perform 7 p.m. Saturday at Crossroads Bible Church. Courtesy Photo

By Bonnie Gordon

Lovers of Renaissance music and lovers of the bard are in for a treat when The Los Alamos Community Winds presents a Shakespeare-themed concert at 7 p.m.  Saturday, Feb. 18 at Crossroads Bible Church. The church is located at 97 East Road (as you enter Los Alamos from the main hill road).  As always Winds concerts are free, although donations are gratefully accepted.

The idea for “the Musick of Shakespeare and his Tyme” came about as the Winds started looking at music they would like to perform and discovered that a lot of the pieces they were attracted to had Shakespeare as an inspiration, said Winds Director, Dr. T. Edward (Ted) Vives.

The group decided to add music of Shakespeare’s time to the mix and the idea for the concert took shape.

“From a musical standpoint, Shakespeare has always been a great inspiration for composers throughout the centuries,” Vives said. “I’ve always enjoyed Renaissance period and the musicians and the audience will get to experience it with our concert.”

Special guests, Musica Antigua de Albuquerque, will enhance the period flavor of the concert. Founded by local musician and early music enthusiast, John Truitt, Música Antigua de Albuquerque has been performing medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music since 1978.

In addition to its concert series and guest performances, Música Antigua gives frequent lecture-demonstrations of early music and instruments to adults and students of all ages. The six-member ensemble will perform the first act of the concert in a set called “Fynely Footing It, Dance Music from Shakespeare’s Time.”

This lively dance music, performed on period instruments, will set the tone for the second act when the 55 members of the Los Alamos Community Winds take the stage.

The second act will include “The Montagues and the Capulets from Romeo and Juliet” by Serge Prokofieff, arranged by William A. Schaefer; “Incidental Music from A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream” by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, I. Nocturne arranged by Robert Stark, and II. Wedding March arranged by Wil Van der Beek; and William Byrd Suite by Gordon Jacob and William Byrd.

Byrd, a contemporary and friend of Shakespeare, was the English leading composer of his generation. Jacob remained mostly faithful to Byrd’s original melody, harmony, and figuration, but in scoring the music for band, he added his own orchestrational color and dynamic shading to the original Byrd keyboard compositions.

The Byrd material provided a bit of a challenge to the Winds, Vives said.

“The rhythms and dynamics of Renaissance music are very different from modern music,” he said. “There’s a certain amount of thinking back that you have to do to play in the Renaissance style.”

“We’re excited about this concert. It’s going to be something people haven’t heard before from a concert band,” Vives said. “We try and make our concerts a bit different from what a concert band would usually play. We often do themed concerts.”

Often, the Winds collaborates with other artists around a theme. In keeping with that tradition, the Winds will present two upcoming concerts:“Toys and Stories,” a family concert centered around “Peter and the Wolf,” featuring storyteller Melissa Mackey and violinist Jin Park on March 17 and “Cinco de Mayo,” music by Mexican composers and about Mexico featuring the dance company Los Ninos de Santa Fe. “Toys and Stories” will take place at 3 p.m. and” Cinco de Mayo” at 7 p.m.

The Los Alamos Community Winds wants to promote lifelong musicianship. “From the beginning, we wanted to stand as a model for students coming through the schools,” Vives said. “We want to provide a good quality concert band that proves that finishing school is not the end of music. Through a community band, music is something you can have throughout your life. Playing in a group provides a feeling of camaraderie and group effort as well as feedback and appreciation from the community.”

In keeping with the goal of inspiring students, the Winds has instituted a yearly award of no less than $1,000 to a single recipient specifically for band students. Auditions will take place the weekend of April 27. Information about the scholarship is available through Los Alamos High School and on the Wind’s website at http://www.lacw.org/.

The Winds is a labor of love for the musicians. “These people are doing this simply because they enjoy it,” Vives said. “It’s my job to make this as pleasant and non-stressful as possible.”

The Winds is above all a community band. The group is always open to new members. “I’m always astonished by the level of musicianship that is hidden in this town,” Vives said. “I’m sure there are more musicians out there and we’re always happy to welcome new people.”

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