Triple Treat: Community Winds, Choral Society and LAHS Choir Together Present Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

From left, Dave Korzekwa, Peter McLachlan and Dean Decker on trumpets at a Community Winds rehearsal. Photo by Fred deSousa/LANL Communications Office
Los Alamos Daily Post
The Los Alamos Community Winds is known for taking on challenging music, forging creative collaborations and bringing audiences something they may not have heard before.
At 4 p.m. Sunday, May 5 at Duane Smith Auditorium, the Winds will join with members of the Los Alamos Choral Society and Los Alamos High School Choir to present Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 in its entirety.

Winds member Claire White on clarinet. Photo by Fred deSousa/LANL Communications Office

While the Ninth Symphony is one of the most famous pieces of classical music ever written, most concert goers will not have had the opportunity to hear it performed with a full chorus by a concert band, rather than an orchestra. Fifty-five members of the Winds are performing along with a chorus of 110.

Guest vocal soloists are Louise Mendius, Melissa Riedel, Andreas Tischhauser and Loren Jacobson.

“Conducting both the band and the chorus has been a real challenge,” Winds Artistic Director Ted Vives said. “The scope of the piece is large and the text is in German. I’ve had to do much more memorization of the piece than I usually do.”

It takes a high level of energy and stamina to perform this work, but the music keeps the performers inspired, Vives said.

Russ Wood, foreground, on french horn. Photo by Fred deSousa/LANL Communications Office

The Ninth Sympny is a towering work by anyone’s standards. Vives writes in the program notes, “The Ninth Symphony stands apart from Beethoven’s other symphonies—and from nearly all that follow it, as well—by virtue of its humanistic message, enormous scale, and organic unity of design. The humanistic message of Beethoven’s Ninth has been welcomed far and wide …”

“If we can give young people a chance to perform monumental works, they may be inspired to keep making music once they have left school, Vives said. “A community music program should involve as many people as possible. It gives the community an artistic outlet. I’m happy to be part of the longstanding Los Alamos tradition of community musical performance.”  

Finding an arrangement of the symphony for concert band and chorus was not an easy task. Vives finally found an arrangement at Joso Gakuin High School in Japan and was able to borrow their arrangement. It took Vives three months of work to adapt it for this concert.

The winds will be announcing the winner of their Music-Filled Life Scholarship at the concert. The scholarship is awarded to a high school senior who is committed to making the performance of music an integral part of their life once they leave school

This concert, like all Community Winds Concerts is free. Donations will benefit the Los Alamos High School Choral Program.

The Los Alamos Community Winds, with Ted Vives conducting, at a recent  rehearsal. Photo by Fred deSousa/LANL Communications Office

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