Summertime and the living is easy


Originally, I was going to make a few jokes about the dog days of summer, but then looked up the origin of the phrase and learned that it’s how we refer to the most humid days of summer, and the rising of the Canis Major constellation. As Kentuckians, we know that the most humid days of summer are from March 1st through November, so we’ve been living in the dog days for a bit.

The best way I can think of to beat the summer heat is to not go outside until the sun has set. And, wouldn’t you know it, there are three free concerts in the evening this summer. CKCB is going on our annual tour, visiting Paris, Bardstown and the UK Arboretum! We hope you’ll come out to see us, to hear our dulcet tones mix with the chirping of crickets and to see if the fireflies can keep the beat.

From Sousa to Rodgers and Hammerstein, we promise an evening full of tunes you recognize, of the lovely nostalgia that comes from those hazy summer evenings. We’ll be in Paris, KY on June 30th, Bardstown on July 5th, and the UK Arboretum on July 6th. All concerts are at 7pm, and all concerts are free!


Angels in the Architecture – and at the Lexington Opera House

The Lexington Opera House will be hosting the Central Kentucky Concert Band on May 5th at 3pm (that’s one week away!) Our music will take you to other planets, other places, other worlds. One of our pieces may transport you even further, to the unknown world of the heavens as we play Frank Ticheli’s “Angels in the Architecture.”


In Ticheli’s own words, “The work unfolds as a dramatic conflict between the two extremes of human existence — one divine, the other evil.” From a quiet Shaker song to a Hebrew song of peace, “Angels in the Architecture” is meant “pose the unanswered question of existence,” the constant and un-ending battle between light and dark – will one ever triumph over the other.

As a part of this piece, we have a guest soloist, Dr. Catherine Clarke Nardolillo, a wonderful Kentucky-grown vocalist, sharing her gifts with us on stage. She’s performed in numerous laudable locations, including Carnegie Hall, and she’s been reviewed in the New York Times – we are indeed fortunate to have her singing with us for this concert!

During times of strife and turmoil, music can be a way to help us answer the questions we have about life. While Ticheli’s motif may not leave you entirely settled, it may leave you with a sense that you aren’t alone in the world, that other people are along the journey with you. 

We hope to see you next Sunday, freshly recovered from the Derby, at the Lexington Opera House!


Our spring concert will be held May 5th at 3pm at the Lexington Opera House. RSVP to our event on Facebook

The opportunity for music


Earlier this year, the Mars Opportunity Rover mission ended. It’s final words came to Earth as “my battery is low, it’s getting dark.” This came about as the planet was covered in a dust storm, blocking out the sun from reaching the solar-powered Mars rover.

Mars is a planet full of unknown, even after missions to photograph its surface. These planet-wide storms project an image of chaos and anger, fitting, then, that the planet gains its name from Mars, the Roman god of war.

In our upcoming concert (May 5th, 3pm), we play two pieces from Gustav Holst’s Planets suite, one of which will be, as you may have guessed, “Mars.” Though Holst writes from an astrological perspective and not an astronomical, thus “Mars” is more about the effect of the planet on the psyche, rather than the Roman god, there are similarities between the two. (And if you want to dig more into the astronomy of it, Mars the planet is generally thought to be ruled by the sign of Aries, which stems from Ares – the Greek counterpart to Mars. There are connections everywhere.)

In astrology, Mars is the planet of activity and energy, a feeling created by Holst’s composition. The piece is meant to unsettle, to make things seem slightly off, keep the listener, and perhaps also the instrumentalists, on their toes. The time signature plays with the idea of the expected, not quite allowing things to become balanced. There’s a military feel to the piece, one that can be seen as a forerunner to many other famous compositions, such as Williams’ “Imperial March” from Star Wars, or Zimmer’s score for Gladiator.

Why did I begin this post with the Mars rover Opportunity? Because this concert, as all of our concerts are, is focused around a theme that is meant to transport the listener, to take you away for however long we have your attention. This spring’s concert is entitled “Worlds Away,” and that’s precisely where we hope to bring you. Just as Opportunity gave us images of this other planet, unknowable, wild and scary, visiting us at the Lexington Opera House on May 5th will give you a chance to be transported to other worlds, other times, other places. We hope to see you there.

Our spring concert will be held May 5th at 3pm at the Lexington Opera House. RSVP to our event on Facebook

It’s concert day!

We’re excited to perform this afternoon at 3pm in the Haggin Auditorium at Transylvania and hope to see you there!

As a note, parking may be a little tighter in the lots around the Mitchell Fine Arts building (where the concerts are held), so please be advised that it may take a little longer to find a space, or that a little walk from the car to the auditorium may be in order!

Stay warm, stay safe, and we can’t wait to see you this afternoon! If you have questions or concerns, send us a message on Facebook!

Three for 3/3

image001 (1)

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

ckcb dance partynew

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.