Three for 3/3

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February sometimes seems like the longest month, even though it’s the shortest. But we’re here to celebrate its ending with a band concert next week! March 3rd, at 3pm at the Haggin Auditorium at Transylvania University! Here are three tidbits about three of the pieces that will delight your ears and minds next week:

  1. We’re playing a trio of dances, inspired by the following three songs: The Last Pint of AleWell May I Behold My Faithful Brown-Hair’d Maid and Highlander’s Jig. Will you be able to figure out which song this is from looking at the program?
  2. We’re playing a symphony commissioned by Duke University’s conductor at the time, Paul Bryan. When talking about why the composer felt like writing a symphony to fulfill this commission? He says he simply “felt like it.” He wants the audience to enjoy the music, and to think of nothing more than what they hear. We, like the composer, “hope it makes music.”
  3. Though another selection will be the first movement of a longer piece, it follows the theme of threes as it features three of our brass players from the band. A program note for this piece says that there’s a sense of sarcasm throughout the music. Perhaps it echoes the mien of our conductor? That’s for you to decide.

These little teasers will all become clear on March 3rd, at 3pm, and we hope to see you there! Enjoy our free concert, and feel free to pose some guesses as to these three pieces before you get a chance to see the program!


Good things come in threes…

Whether it’s the three blind mice, the three wise men, the three musketeers, or the Powerpuff girls, it’s hard to deny that some of the best things come in threes. Which is why on 3/3, the CKCB will be performing our March concert!

Every piece has a relation to the number three, perhaps immediately obvious, perhaps not. It will be part of the journey you can go on as an audience member.

Conductor Vaclav Nelhybel

Vaclav Nelhybel wrote “Trittico” in 1963, composed for director William Revelli and was first performed in 1964 in Ann Arbor by the Symphonic Band at the University of Michigan. As you may guess, there are three movements to the piece, the third movement echoing and building on the first movement. Their character is
brilliantly forward moving and energetic; the main theme of the first movement reappears in the culmination point of the third movement and the instrumentation of these two movements are identical, with each type of instrument being used in a similar fashion. While very dissonant, the work is essentially a joyous, raucous. The second movement is a dramatic, slower piece, featuring our excellent percussion section, a brave group willing to run around behind the band to whatever timpani or bell requires their attention.

“Trittico” can be thought of as a triptych, the sort that might dignify an altar, ornate and colorful, and contains many of the themes that thread throughout Nelhybel’s work.

A prolific composer of the 20th century, this Czech-American composer wrote many, many works for student orchestras and bands. At times his style may sound similar to that of Bela Bartok, at others much like Dmitri Shostakovich, who you heard at our winter concert, but in the end, his style is always uniquely his own. Primitive, driving, repeated rhythms, heavy use of brass and percussion, and deceptively simple.

In an interview before his death, Nelhybel was asked, “What do you expect of the audience that comes to hear the music of Vaclav Nelhybel?” His response was that he doesn’t think of the audience when he’s composing. Instead, he said, “to compose music is the best means to manifest my existence as human being.”

We are both thinking of you, the audience, in our performance of Trittico, and hoping to manifest some aspect of our existence as humans in our playing of the pieces for you.

This is a brief look at the world of threes that will be forthcoming on March 3rd, 2019 at 3pm. Look to the CKCB blog as the weeks pass for another glimpse at our repertoire. In the meantime, you can look at our Instagram and Facebook for photos and other updates!

Come dance with CKCB on December 2nd

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There’s toe-tapping. There’s waltzing. There’s the jive. There’s krumping. Hundreds of ways to dance, and the Central Kentucky Concert Band will be presenting just a few of them – no dance lessons required.

This fall, we’ve been working on dances from around the world, bringing some international flair to the Mitchell Fine Arts Center on December 2nd.

There’s something evocative about each song we’re playing, transporting the listener to another place or time, a glimpse into another world. Brian Balmages’ Arabian Dances allows a peek into the dance music and folk songs of another culture. The work is made up of two traditional Middle Eastern songs with an original theme moving through it, tying everything together. The first song featured is the folksong “Ala Dal’ona”, which can be roughly translated as “let’s go and help,” as good a message for the holiday season as it is for any time of year. “Tafta Hindi” is the second song, simple words about a traveling salesman with silks and taffeta to sell to pretty girls. Throughout it all is impressive percussion, giving the band the chance for a dance break as well – watch out for the head bobs and grooving on stage.

From the Middle East to Argentina, the CKCB will play the final movement from Alberto Ginastera’s ballet “Estancia,” Danza Final (Malambo). An estancia is a large cattle ranch on the pampas in Argentina, and Ginastera envisioned his ballet as a depiction of the busy activities on an estancia from one dawn to the next. A Malambo is a quick and vigorous Argentinean folk dance in which men compete to demonstrate their agility and machismo. The dance itself is a series of justas or competitive “anything you can do, I can do better” moments. The “winner” is the last man to remain standing. As “Estancia” revolves a love triangle, the Danza Final is a dance-off between the strong gaucho of the pampas and the untrained city boy, both of whom love the same woman on the ranch.

While we visit Russia and Scotland on our dance-themed sojourn as well, we play a few songs by home-grown composers, such as Incantation and Dance, composed by John Barnes Chance. This song is a journey all its own, with contrast between the incantation and dance sections of the piece. While it starts slowly, with an almost otherworldly eeriness, the dance begins to coalesce into a whirling dervish of noise that will no doubt bring the audience along for the ride.

Every song we’re playing this winter has a story, every melody has a dance, and we hope the taste of these three pieces will entice you to join us on December 2nd.

Interested in joining us for an afternoon of music? The Central Kentucky Concert Band will be performing dance music from around the world on Sunday, December 2nd at 3 pm at the Mitchell Fine Arts Center on Transylvania University’s campus. Admission to the concert is free and no tickets are required.

CKCB is playing Frankfort!


That’s right, the rumors are true. The Central Kentucky Concert Band is traveling to Frankfort this week!

Over the summer, the CKCB goes on tour, playing classic songs of Americana to audiences around central Kentucky. As the fall rehearsal season starts, the music we play takes on a different tone. We’ve begun to play dances from around the world, some classics of concert band literature.

This fall, however, we are able to combine the two at a concert in Frankfort on November 8th. In a concert presented by the Frankfort Arts Foundation, the CKCB will be performing patriotic songs to honor our veterans and a smattering of dance music to create a true celebratory feel. Commemorating sacrifice Nightand commitment to one’s country shouldn’t be a solely somber affair, and we hope you will join us for this upcoming concert as we bring together waltzes with salutes, John Williams and Antonín Dvořák.

As the nights grow longer and the days get colder, we hope this concert will be a spot of warmth and light in the middle of November for you. Since our last update, we’ve welcomed new members, we’ve rehearsed and practiced, and we’re hopeful that you enjoy the fruits of our labors.

This free concert will take place at Bradford Hall on Kentucky State University’s campus, November 8th at 7:00pm. We’d like to thank KSU for hosting us and to the Frankfort Arts Foundation for presenting this concert, allowing the CKCB to travel and reach new and different audiences.