Dexter Community Band Concert Will “Make You Dance” Sunday, March 1

Dexter Community Band's saxophone section preparing for their Sunday, March 1 Concert "Gotta Dance" Left to right: Jan Stevens (tenor), John Bowman (baritone), Abbey Herrman (alto), Dan Ackerman (alto), Laura Kaufman (alto) and Kenny Moore (alto).

“Gotta Dance” is the theme of the Sunday, March 1, concert by the Dexter Community Band. The concert will start at 3:00 pm. It will be held in the Dexter Center for the Performing Arts auditorium located in Dexter High School at 2200 North Parker Road. All Dexter Community Band concerts are free and open to the public.

William W. Gourley, the conductor of the 85 piece ensemble, has selected an amazing program of world wide dance music. West Side Story is the musical adapted from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with music written by Leonard Bernstein. The musical was a reinvention of the American musical with extensive dance scenes choreographed by Jerome Robbins. The band will perform Symphonic Dance Music from West Side Story, arranged for symphonic band by Ian Polster. The mambo, cha-cha and hot jazz will be featured.

The comic opera, Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose) by Richard Strauss is a standard of opera repertoire. Lucien Cailliet, known for his faithful arrangements of orchestral pieces for wind ensembles, adapted many of the waltzes in the opera for military band. The Dexter Community Band will perform Waltzes from Der Rosenkavalier courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corp Band who graciously supplied this work. Originally the band could not find the work; as it is presently out of print. The band is very appreciative of the kind gesture by the Marine Band.

Gourley has chosen a relatively new work by Japanese composer Yosuke Fukuda. Fukuda captures the essence of many world dances in his five movement work, Symphonic Dances for Wind Ensemble. The first movement, Renaissance Dances, transports the listener to 16th century Europe. Picture lords and ladies dancing the pavan, courante, galliard and branle in a castle festival. The second movement, The Tango, whisks the audience to Argentina for a very sultry dance featuring the band’s outstanding saxophone section. The third movement , Hoedown, moves back across the ocean to our western heritage of the free-spirited rodeo and western swing. This third movement begins with a clarinet solo performed by Dr. Milford Wolpoff with the band joining in for a wild conclusion. The fourth movement, Spirituals Bon-Odori-Uta, may be an unfamiliar dance to many in the audience; however numerous cities in the U.S. hold Bon Festivals where the Bon-Odori dance is performed. This is a beautiful movement that features the ensembles versatility. The Bon Festival honors the “spirits” of one’s ancestors and becomes a family reunion holiday. The final movement jumps back across the ocean to Arabia and features the Belly Dance which ends the work in a wonderful frenzy of excitement.

It is a tradition in the band, when a member passes away, the band honors that person with a concert; or a special piece of music. Al Townsend, a past member of the band’s trombone section (1926-2014), will be remembered with the piece Big Band Signatures by John Higgins. Al played with Gene Krupa’s band in the 40’s. He also composed and arranged music as well as performed locally in the Ambassadors and Couriers. He is greatly missed by the band and his family.

This is a concert to attend; so put on those “toe-tappers” and join the Dexter Community Band on Sunday, March 1 at 3 p.m. in Dexter High School. For further information call (734) 426-2734.

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