Cottonwood Community Band presents Christmas concerts

Will Norris

Will Norris

The Cottonwood Community Band is presenting their annual Christmas concerts under the direction of Will Norris. After the Christmas concerts, he will be stepping down as director to concentrate on personal business in Phoenix.

The band members have been grateful for their continued improvement in musical performances under his baton which has been a result of his strong guidance and choice of selections that have been played.

The concert will first be performed in Camp Verde on Sunday, Dec. 3 from 3-4 p.m. at the Phillip England Center for the Performing Arts, located 210 Camp Lincoln Rd. in Camp Verde.

The concert will be performed again in Cottonwood on Sunday, Dec. 10 from 3-4 p.m. at the Cottonwood Recreation Center located 150 South 6th St. in Cottonwood. All concerts are free. Families are welcome.

There will be a variety of music for everyone to enjoy. The selections are mixed as “Christmas” and “other.” Christmas pieces include Carol of the Bells, arrangements containing many familiar holiday melodies, Christmas Sing-a-long and Sleigh Ride.

“Other” are non-holiday pieces that are lively arrangements and original scores from the past to the present as will be described in the following paragraphs.

“The Girl I Left Behind Me” arranged by Leroy Anderson is a recognizable tune with a march beat dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Most often associated with the British and American military heading out to battle. There have been many different texts sung, but the melody remained unchanged.

“O Waly, Waly” arranged by Jay Babcock is a Scottish folksong dating back to 1620 with obscure beginnings. This very old tune is recorded in William Thomson’s “Orpheus Caledonius” in 1725.

Remarks in the book about the lyrics are related to some amorous incidents surrounding the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. Adaptations of this music called “The Water is Wide” was popularized by Pete Seeger during the folk revival period.

“Ulterior Overture” was written in 2005 by William Hines. The tempo is quick with lots of spirit, featuring a beautiful trumpet solo in the middle, then concludes with a lively ending. “Prairie Song” is original work by Carl Strommen.

This song feels like a Kenneth Copeland piece which relays majesty and beauty of America’s heartland, along with the sound of a hoedown featuring flute and bassoon solos.

A very fun piece to hear is “Hallelujah Trombone” written by Henry Fillmore (1881-1956). It is one of the 15 novelty tunes he wrote featuring trombones smears. An interesting side, in his youth he mastered piano, guitar, violin and flute. His desire was to also play a slide trombone, but in that era a trombone was considered an uncouth and sinful instrument.

Being that his father was a Gospel song writer he did not approve. The boy’s mother kept a cool head in this dispute, insisting the boy be allowed to study the trombone despite its sleazy social status. Then on he went, graduating from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. In his career he wrote over 250 pieces and arranged orchestrations for 750 more, sometimes under one of at least six aliases. For example a famous march “Footlifter” is written by Harold Bennet, who didn’t exist.

The band is recruiting local musicians for the spring season and may be contacted on the web at cottonwoodcomunityband.org or cottonwoodcommunityband@gmail.com.

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