It was exciting to see the new Bel Air High School from the inside, and this was an occasion to see and ‘listen up’ the new auditorium. Right off, the acoustics are fantastic, plenty of leg room and beautifully appointed.
The reason for my visit Sunday afternoon was prompted by a member of the band filling me in on the concert and the need to get away from the massive cleanup resulting from the winds and rains recently.
The Bel Air Community Band presented a benefit concert for “Band Together” an instrument donation program. The Band Together program is for school kids who can’t afford to rent or buy an musical instrument but want to learn.
Band Together accepts both used instruments and monetary donations for the furtherment of folks who enjoy creating music.
The band consists of approximately 80 musicians even though it looked much larger on the stage Sunday. It’s a big band, with big sound and they carried the audience of near capacity on a ‘big musical journey.’
Second of the selections, “ Bombasto March” was invigorating…zestful and full of life tingling every ear and heart in the place.
The third selection, “El Camino Real- A Latin Fantasy” begins like a road trip to Las Vegas then settles down to a dreamy, tranquil fantasy in Spain that gallops off in search of Don Quixote. This was one of two favorites for me and much of the audience. El Camino Real is a great piece of music written expressly for wind band by Alfred Reed.
Even though ‘Amazing Grace’ is a big favorite I’ve had enough of it…same is true for all the memorial services that always include the 23rd Psalm…there must be other selections of powerful meaning for those occasions. Albeit, the arrangement of this ‘Grace’ was well done, meaningful and tight.
Just once I’d like to hear a full band play “Precious Memories”.
Another outstanding arrangement was that of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”. I have not seen the Jack Sparrow trilogy at the theater so this was pure delight conjuring up images of the sea, ships and adventure. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the arrangement.
At this point I do wish the director/conductor Scott Sharnetzka would lay down the microphone and spend less time speaking to the audience. He is obviously a fine director with all the right moves. I personally found some of his interjections unnecessary.
The announcer/host, Robert Wooters did an adequate job without further comments seemingly offered up too often by Sharnetzka…after all, this was not a competition for a “Late Show” announcer spot.
The program concluded with members of the band being joined by middle school and high school guests playing in the community band. What an opportunity for young musicians to join in with the veterans.
What a treasure for the county…this super band receiving and deserving a standing ovation at the completion of the program. I did not see one politician there…just moms and family of those who were playing, and lots of others, like myself, who wanted to see this great new facility and hear wonderful images that take us miles away on a rainy day.
The next concert for this outstanding community band will be Sunday, May 2, at 3 p.m. Same venue, the impressive Bel Air High School auditorium. These events are free of charge and those who might have instruments to be donated to those less fortunate are urged to do so.