Our third concert will take the audience on a journey exploring stories featuring water. You’ll be taken to the shores of Ireland, walk along the Shenandoah River, and experience a whale hunting expedition in Francis McBeth’s Of Sailors and Whales.

Come and enjoy a free concert in Graham-Kapowsin High School’s Auditorium on March 10 at 7:30pm.

  • Shenandoah
    Composed by American Composer, Frank Ticheli. The Shenandoah Valley and the Shenandoah River are located in Virginia.  There is disagreement among historians concerning the origins of their names.  Some claim that the river and valley were named in  the 1750’s by the Cherokee as a friendly tribute to a visiting Iroquois Chief named Skenandoah.  Others suggest that the region was named not by the Cherokee, but by the Senedo Indians of the Virginia Valley.  In the Senedo tradition, Shenandoah means “daughter of the moon”, and bears no relation to the Iroquois Chief Skenandoah.The origins of the folk song are equally obscure, but all date to the 19th century.  It has been attributed variously to a coal miner in Pennsylvania, a young protege of Stephen Foster, and to a housewife in Lexington, Kentucky [ed: also to Native Americans or French-Canadian sailors!]. Many variants on the melody and text have been handed down through the years, the most popular telling the story of an early settler’s love for a Native American woman.
  • Molly on the Shore
    Composed by Percy Aldridge Grainger. Molly on the Shore is an arragment of two Irish reels, Temple Hill and Molly on the Shore. Originally composed for string quartet or string orchestra, this piece for was arranged for wind band in 1920 by Grainger. In a letter to Fredrick Fennell, Grainger wrote: “in setting Molly on the Shore, I strove to imbue the accompanying parts that made up the harmonic texture with a melodic character not too unlike that of the underlying reel tune. Melody seems to me to provide music with initiative, wheras {sic} rhythm appears to me to exert an enslaving influence. For that reason I have tried to avoid regular rhythmic domination in my music – always excepting irregular rhythms, such as those of Gregorian Chant, which seem to me to make for freedom. Equally with melody, I prize discordant harmony, because of the emotional and compassionate sway it exerts”.
  • Of Sailors and Whales
    Composed by W. Francis McBeth. This tone poem, based on five scenes from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, was commissioned by and is dedicated to the California Band Directors Association, Inc. It was premiered in February 1990 by the California All-State Band, conducted by the composer. The work is subdedicated to Robert Lanon White, Commander USN (Ret.), who went to sea as a simple sailor.

    •  Ishmael – “I go to sea as a simple sailor.”
    • Queequeg – “It was quite plain that he must be some abominable savage, but Queequeg was a creature in the transitory state – neither caterpillar nor butterfly.”
    • Father Mapple – “This ended, in prolonged solemn tones, like the continual tolling of a bell in a ship that is foundering at sea in a fog – in such tones he commenced reading the following hymn; but changing his manner towards the concluding stanzas, burst forth with a pealing exultation and joy.”
    • Ahab – “So powerfully did the whole grim aspect of Ahab affect me that for the first few moments I hardly noted the barbaric white leg upon which he partly stood.”
    • The White Whale – “Moby Dick seemed combinedly possessed by all the angels that fell from heaven. The birds! – the birds! They mark the spot.”
  • After a Gentle Rain
    After a Gentle Rain is a work in two contrasting movements – the first quiet, meditative and introverted and the second sparkling, dance-like and extroverted.  The piece is dedicated to Dr. Max Plank and the Eastern Michigan University Symphonic Band and was recorded by the band for Golden Crest Records (ATH-5072).

    • The Dark Green Glistens With Old Reflections – “The play on words in the title suggests images of light reflecting off moist green foliage in turn evoking reflections ‘off’ old memories in a quiet, meditative context.  Memories, images and colors become bolder and more powerful, culminate in a climax and gradually recede into the past with the same delicate afterglow of soft bell sounds heard in the opening measures.”
    • Sparkling Air Bursts With Dancing Sunlight –  “Extroverted and dance-like in nature this movement gallops with the joy and freshness that seems to fill the air after a gentle rain.  The cleansed air sparkles with a sense of re-birth and the celebration of life.”
  • Wayfaring Stranger
    Composed by Christopher M. Nelson. Wayfaring Stranger is a setting of the American folk spiritual known as “Poor Wayfaring Stranger”. While many versions of the lyrics to this tune exist, they all tell the story of a Traveler who makes their way on a journey despite a rough road, difficult circumstances, and gathering darkness. He does this, the lyrics say, for the promise of green pastures and a reunion with his Father and Mother at journey’s end. This setting is intended to convey not only the difficulty experienced by the Traveler, but also the resolve which is displayed as He moves forward despite hardship, and disappointment. Wayfaring Stranger is offered as a sort of resolute battle-hymn for anyone who must endure a long journey of challenge and trial before the promised green pastures can be enjoyed.