The Lowcountry Wind Symphony invites our audiences on a musical journey entitled ‘From Great Britain to the New World’ on Friday, April 29th, 7:00 pm, at The Lowcountry Community Church, 801 Buckwalter Parkway in Bluffton. The concert will be repeated on Sunday, May1st, 4:00 pm, at Sea Island Presbyterian Church, 81 Lady’s Island Drive, Beaufort.
The concerts are free and open to the public, but we are grateful for donations.
According to Music Director, Donald F. Jemella, LWS will travel from the UK to America with stops in Ireland, The Isle of Man, and England. Back home in the USA, the ‘Largo’ from the ‘The New World Symphony,’ and two compositions titled ‘America’ (from West Side Story) and ‘America,’ (John Philip Sousa’s musical descriptions of the building of the USA), are program highlights.
Music Director Jemella has chosen two pieces by UK composers which are both based on Irish folk melodies. The first is ‘Irish Tune from County Derry.’ Composer Percy Grainger arranged this very familiar melody, ‘The Londondrerry Air’ which is popularly known as ‘Danny Boy.’
The second is the tone poem ‘Mannin Veen’ (Manx for ‘Dear Isle of Man’) which is based on four Manx folk tunes. Composer Haydn Wood lived on this island in the Irish Sea from the age of three. He studied violin and composition at the Royal College of music. The violin is a traditionally popular folk instrument in the British Isles.
‘Pomp and Circumstance’ (‘Land of Hope and Glory’) by Sir Edward Elgar premiered in 1901 and then was used during the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902. It has become wildly popular in the UK as a general patriotic song. In America the Trio section is known as ‘The Graduation March’
‘Let Freedom Ring’ – The musical bridge between the United Kingdom and the United States may be found in the common hymn tune respectively known as ‘My County ‘Tis of Thee’ (aka ‘America’) and ‘God Save the Queen’ (or King). The melody found its way to the United States where Samuel F. Smith wrote lyrics to this patriotic hymn in 1832. It hasbecome an unofficial anthem for the nation, second only to
the ‘Star Spangled Banner.’
‘America’ – John Philip Sousa is recognized for his many marches, but this composition was written to reflect the building of a great nation, complete with the clanging steel, axes clearing the forest, and anvils forging the tools with which to do the ‘building.’ It is easy to hear Sousa’s intent, while simultaneously sensing his patriotism and love of country.
‘America’ (from West Side Story) – Inspired by Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ the action is set in a blue collar neighborhood of New York City, where Leonard Bernstein musically explores the rivalry between the Jets and Sharks, street gangs of two different ethnic backgrounds. In the intricate rhythmic motifs of ‘America,’ members of the Sharks, who are Puerto Rican immigrants, sing about the joys and problems of living in America, while still yearning for the land of their birth.
‘West Side Story’ came to Broadway in 1957. The original movie was made in 1961 and then remade in 2021 – a time honored tribute, allowing a new generation of young people and their elders to hear the genius of composer Bernstein, and lyricist Stephen Sondheim.
‘Largo from The New World Symphony’ – Antonin Dvorak was a beloved Czech composer who visited America between 1882 and 1885. He was drawn to American folk music, particularly Native and African American melodies, which he learned about mostly through hearing transcriptions. Although ‘The New World Symphony’ was written in America, it is not specifically about America. It does not contain ‘authentic’ folk songs, but Dvorak did have a wondrous gift for original melodic composition. Audiences will immediately recognize the iconic English horn solo, best known as the ‘Going Home theme.’
LWS is a concert band made up of local amateur and professional brass, woodwind, and percussion players from the greater Beaufort area. New members are welcome and auditions are not required. For more information, or to become involved in band operations support please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lowcountry Wind Symphony offers annual scholarships for graduating high school seniors who have been accepted in an accredited university and are enrolled in a program leading to a career in music. Present scholarship holders may apply for continuing scholarship award consideration. Application details will be available soon by visiting The LWS website at lowcountrywindsymphony.com.
LWS invites you to attend ‘From Great Britain to the New World,’ as together we are ‘Exploring What’s Musically Possible’.
For more information, or to make a contribution, please visit the LWS website at www.lowcountrywindsymphony.com.