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Northern Symphonic Winds playing free concert in Norwood today

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NORWOOD - The north country’s premier Wind Band will perform a free concert at 7 p.m. tonight at the Norwood Village Green.

Conductors Brian Doyle and Scott LaVine will share the podium in a selection ranging from Bands to Broadway. The concert includes music by two of the “north country’s own,” Arthur Frackenpohl and the late Robert Washburn.

The big names in Wind Band music will be heard: Gustav Holst’s Second Suite in F, Alfred Reed’s A Jubilant Overture, Ralph Vaughn William’s jaunty Sea Songs and Percy Grainger’s Mock Morris, a delightful tune originally written in 1910 for string band as well as his the Scottish folk song, Ye Banks and Braes O’ Bonnie Doon.

The audience will also be treated to music of some of Broadway’s best and brightest with music by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, George M. Cohan, Stephen Sondheim and the team of Lerner and Lowe.

Joining the line-up will be the great American composer Aaron Copland. In 1962, Copland accepted a commission from Life magazine for a short piano piece “for young performers.” The project of providing quality music by a major composer to piano students resulted in Down a Country Lane, a lovely piece that has been transcribed for both orchestra and band.

Part of any Wind Band program usually included marches. In the first half is Bravura; composed in 1918 it is the most famous work by Charles Duble, an Indiana-born musician and composer who played in many circus bands, including those of Barnum and Bailey and The Ringling Brothers.

The concert is free and the public is invited to bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy the music. Norwood Village Green Series director Joe Liotta will pass the bucket – donations to the series are always appreciated.

In the event of rain, the concert will be held in the Norwood-Norfolk Central School auditorium. This will be the wind ensemble’s eighth appearance for the Norwood Village Green Concert Series.

The second half of the concert includes The Washington Grays, a Civil War-era march written by Claudio Grafulla, who emigrated to the United States at the age of 28 and later became director of the famed 7th Regiment Band in New York City. The Washington Grays has been called a march masterpiece; in this piece, Grafulla dared to break the old formulas: the march has no introduction, no break strain, and no “stinger” at the end.

Merry-Go-Round was commissioned by the city of Lesquin, France, for their annual band competition, Brass Open. The piece is a mini “concerto for band” which features each section in turn. London-born composer Philip has written extensively for both Concert Band and Brass Band.

Potsdam resident Arthur Frackenpohl, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, joined the faculty of the Crane School of Music in 1961 and served there as professor of music and coordinator of keyboard courses, receiving the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1982. A frequently and internationally decorated composer, he has published over 250 instrumental and choral compositions and arrangements.

Mr. Frackenpohl and his wife, Mary Ellen, raised four children in Potsdam. His 1973 American Folk Song Suite is comprised of four folk song settings, each in its own short movement: “He’s Gone Away,” “John Henry,” “Go ‘way from my window” and “Mama Don’t Allow.”

A resident, with his family, of Potsdam for many years, Robert Washburn was an award-winning composer who wrote over 150 works for orchestra, band, chorus, chamber ensembles and piano. Among his most well-known commissions was Parade of Nations, composed for the opening ceremonies of the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid.

After a long career at the Crane School of Music and many travels around the world, Mr. Washburn passed away last November at the age of 85. NSW is proud to perform his 1989 composition, Pageant Royale.

Founded in 1998, Northern Symphonic Winds is a 46-52 piece wind and percussion ensemble comprised of faculty from the Crane School of Music, northern New York music teachers, other professionals and selected Crane students,

The ensemble holds firmly to three primary objectives: to feature the finest wind and percussion performers available in the north country, to perform music of the highest quality and to bring enjoyment and satisfaction not just to the ensemble’s musicians, but also to audiences around the north country.

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