The Cumberland County Community Band will perform its first concert of its twentieth season on March 19, 2020. The performance will begin at 7 pm in the auditorium of Stone Memorial High School with a pre-concert performance presented by Enchanted Woods, a wind ensemble. 

The Spring Concert will feature upbeat tunes such as “Saxology” by Eric Osterling. This “saxy” little piece will have you bouncing to the beat and features the six-piece saxophone section.

“Caribbean Rondo” is a snappy little piece that will have you ready for suntan lotion and the beach. While a rondo is a recurring theme you won’t tire of its repetitiveness as it bounces around from one section of instruments to another.

Also on the program is “On A Hymnsong of Philip Bliss”, arranged by David Holsinger. Atypical of Bliss’s style of composition, this reverent piece is based on a hymn written by Horatio Spafford, a successful lawyer and layman from Chicago. Spafford had planned a family vacation to Europe in 1873. Several unfortunate incidents delayed his plans and he sent his wife and four daughters off to Europe, with the intention of joining them later.

During the voyage, their ship – the S.S. Ville du Havre - crossed paths with and was struck by an English vessel (the Lochearn). The S.S. Ville du Havre sunk, taking several passengers with it. Mrs. Spafford was among the survivors, and when she along with the others arrived in Cardiff, Wales she sent a cable to her husband, stating briefly, “Survived alone.” Spafford’s four daughters were among the dead.

Spafford promptly set sail to join his wife, and it is believed that as he came near the place where his daughters perished, he wrote, “When sorrows like sea billows roll...It is well with my soul.”

Bliss was a writer of hymns, composing both the lyrics and music. This was one of the few occasions where he wrote the music to someone else’s words. Bliss also suffered his own tragic death. He and his wife, Lucy, died in a train wreck on December 29, 1876. It is thought that Bliss may have escaped the wreckage but was killed trying to rescue his wife. 

Last fall the audience was treated to the special effects of ocean waves and helicopters. In “Pilatus: Mountain of Dragons”, the band begins by recreating the sound of light winds.  Mount Pilatus, located in Switzerland overlooking Lucerne, is the home of the fictional dragon which inspired this piece. The music powerfully portrays the adventures of several hunters who climb the more than 6000-foot mountain in search of dragons to slay. All but one hunter survives, and he pleads for mercy. To read more about this legendary tale, visit http://www.switzerlandflexitours.com/mount-pilatus/the-legend-of-pilatus.html.

The selection was commissioned by Lucerne’s Youth Wind Orchestra in celebration of the group’s fiftieth anniversary. It was first performed at the Culture and Congress Center in Lucerne on May 31, 2002. It should be noted that in addition to the composer (Steven Reinecke), the United States Ambassador (the Honorable Mercer Reynolds) attended the premiere performance. 

Most listeners are familiar with “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson. In “Syncopated Clock” he takes on the antics of an erratic clock. Back in the day when clocks operated by pendulum or the obstinate second hand, it wasn’t unusual for a clock to miss an occasional beat. Listen along and see if you can “hear” the errant rhythm of Mr. Anderson’s timepiece.

As the CCCB begins its twentieth season the goal is to entertain as many people as possible, so come out and fill the auditorium for an evening of music. Invite your friends and neighbors to join you. The concert is free although donations are accepted at the door. The CCCB is a 501(c) non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.