Le nozze di Figaro/The Marriage of Figaro is a comic opera that was completed in 1786. The opera was based off of the controver- sial play that was premiered in Paris in 1784 by French play- wright Pierre Beaumarchais, La folle journée, ou Le mariage de Figaro. Due to the political and revolutionary content in the play, Viennese theatres were banned from presenting the work. Libret- tist Lorenzo da Ponte and composer W. A. Mozart were keenly aware of this controversy and decided to create an opera based on the play to be premiered in Vienna one year later.

Scenes from “The Louvre” (Norman Dello Joio, 1957): By age 12 young Norman Dello Joio was substituting for his father on organ performances and then went on to study at Juilliard where he shifted his focus from the organ to composition; studying with Paul Hindemith. As a composer, Dello Joio wrote for a wide range of ensembles and won accolades from all corners of the music world, including a Pulitzer Prize in 1957 and an Emmy in
1965 for his score for NBC’s documentary, The Louvre. In Scenes from the Louvre, Dello Joio chose to use Renaissance-era music to match the film’s historical depth. He later modified the Emmy- winning orchestral score into this five-movement suite for band, on a commission from Baldwin-Wallace College.

Christmas Music for Winds is a collection of traditional carols adapted and arranged by John Cacavas. After a robust and quickly changing introduction, the carols are presented in the fol- lowing order: Adeste Fideleas, Silent Night, Jolly Old St. Nicho- las, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Away in a Manger, Twelve Days of Christmas, and Angels we have heard on High.

A Canadian Brass Christmas Suite is a medley of six Christmas pieces based on arrangements for the popular Canadian Brass. Custer has adapted for concert band six pieces from the seven- teen recorded by the Canadian Brass on their CD A Canadian Brass Christmas. Custer has included Jingle Bells; Good King Wenceslas; Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming; Carol of the Bells; Silent Night and O Come All Ye Faithful in his arrangement. To- night we will be performing the first four of these pieces.

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, Chorale from Cantata No. 147 Jo- hann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750), adapted and arranged by Alfred Reed. With a family boasting approximately 200 musical relatives, it is not surprising that German composer J.S. Bach de- veloped an interest in music at an early age. He mastered the vio- lin and clavier and devoted himself to the mastery of the organ. At the age of 18, Bach was the court organist in the town of Arn- stadt and became interested in composition. He was a devout Lu- theran and, like his fellow baroque composers, believed that eve- rything a person did was religious in nature. Bach was more famous as an organist and court musician than as a composer, because his baroque compositions were considered to be too elaborate. His works remained largely unknown until they were rediscovered some eighty years after his death.

Sleigh Ride is a popular light piece, composed by Leroy An- derson, about someone who would like to ride in a sleigh on a winter’s day with another person. The composer had the original idea for the piece during a heat wave in July 1946; he finished the work in February 1948. It was first recorded in 1946 by Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops Orchestra. Alt- hough “Sleigh Ride” is often associated with Christmas, the songs lyrics never specifically mention any holiday or reli- gion. According to author Steve Metcalf in the book Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography [Praeger 2004], “Sleigh Ride”… has been performed and recorded by a wider array of musical artists than any other piece in the history of Western music.”

The Eighth Candle (Steve Reisteter, 1997) Alluding to the story of Hanukkah, this work begins with an extended hymn- like section followed by an exciting dance of celebration.
The feast commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian-Greek tyrant Antiochus over 2,180 years ago. Leg- end has it that after the battles were won there was only enough oil for the ceremonial lights to last for one day, yet by some miracle the oil lasted for eight days. Hanukkah is cele- brated by the family in the home, rather than in the syna- gogue. In modern times candles are lit, one for each day of the holiday, prayers are recited, then the feast and merrymaking begin.