Muskoka Concert Band show April 27 features ‘The Three Jacks’ – and they’re all cards
HUNTSVILLE — Meet “The Three Jacks.”
One’s a retired Air Canada pilot, one had 800 employees, and one was a senior consultant for IBM.
They’re all “cards” — and amazing musicians.
The incredible trumpet trio will be blowing the roof off the town hall here at the Algonquin Theatre April 27 at 2 p.m., when the Muskoka Concert Band (MCB) salutes spring with its 54th annual concert and report to the community. Tickets $15.
This is a show young and old will truly enjoy.
Band president Merrill Perritt, Gord Duncan and Cory Wilson are among 35 of the brassiest and woodiest-winded ensemble artists in Central Ontario.
They are led by Neil Barlow, one of the best baton-beating concert band conductors in North America — and himself an immensely accomplished trumpet and featured cornet player.
He joined the band as a player in 1998 took over conducting in 2002. He not only conducts the MCB, but the Gravenhurst Bifocals Band, the Orillia Silver Band and the North American division champion Five Lakes Silver Band in Detroit.
The “Three Muskoka Trumpeters” will be one of the featured acts in the 75-minute afternoon program designed to entertain and showcase the virtuosic talents of your neighbours across the district from Dorset to Orillia.
The Three Jacks is a trumpet trio by composer Harold L. Walters that starts with an amazing three-bar cadenza, followed in cut time by a dozen bars in a slow four blues tempo. Then the trumpeters get down to a fast four with boogie-woogie.
The MCB will sell you a seat — but you’ll only need half of it as you’ll be on the edge wanting to get up and shake your tush. Barlow says “feel free.”
Barlow has an eclectic program of dozen of songs you’ll recognize and tap your toes to — including special Huntsville historical content.
It starts with stirring rendition of O Canada (arranged by K. Bray) that will let you sing the praises of maple syrup and spring.
The concert opens with Cincinnatus, a circus march by H.A. Vander Cook. Discover a real gem with this wonderfully stylish and playable music. Originally written in the 1890s, this arrangement brings new life to this masterpiece over 120 years later. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the amount of fun and excitement you’ll discover in this old-timer.
Theatre fans will recognize up next the overture of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance — always a crowd-pleaser with Algonquin goers and Rotary patrons.
An early highlight will be Stars in a Velvety Sky.
This piece was written by the legendary American cornet virtuoso band leader and composer Herbert L. Clarke, who resided for a time in Huntsville a century ago when he was lured (“stolen”) from the great John Philip Sousa’s band in Philadelphia and brought to Muskoka by company owner and cornetist Charles Shaw, to lead the Anglo Canadian Company Leather Band (1918-1923) It was then described as: “One of the finest industrial plant bands in the world.”
Beethoven gets props with his classical piece Menuetto from Symphony No. 1.
In a lengthy American Variations (Jerry H. Bilik) you’ll hear a musical portrait of the United States as a series of ethnic variations on a theme — in this case one of the earliest popular songs of the original Colonies: Barbara Allen.
To remind you of the summer ahead, there’s the beachy Rio Con Brio, a Caribbean number that will hit you like a punch of rum and more than a pinch of calypso, salsa and cooca-rocha beats. You’ll be bumping shoulders with your seatmates.
A Tribute to Artie Shaw is really a tribute to Kim Barlow. The concert master is at her swingin’est best as she performs a solo for clarinet and concert band that sings, sails, swoons, soars and explores the licorice stick, swinging and swaying its way through Shaw’s big band classics like Dancing in the Dark, Begin the Beguine, Star Dust and Frenesi. It’s arranged by James Christensen.
Then sit back and enjoy Mendelssohn’s Midsummer’s Nights Dream as the MCB reminds you of the warmth ahead.
You’ll need the rest — because right after that it’s a Taste of Honey: The Sound of the Tijuana Brass (arranged by William Russell). Remember Herb Albert. His Tex-Mex sound sold more records in the 1960s than the Beatles.
You’ll recognize the Last Post and Lead, Kindly Light in D.A. Pope’s Nightfall in Camp. It’s a traditional fanfare for orchestra or concert band that many Salvation Army and brass bands often perform to the delight of music lovers who appreciate the subtlety and poignancy of the bugler’s call at the going down of the sun.
Sousa’s Liberty Bell was written for an unfinished operetta, but when his son marched in a parade in honour of the iconic cracked bell in Philadelphia, he agreed to change the name.
All of this great music is just a sampling of the music the MCB performs across Muskoka each year, including featured concerts every week in the summer starting with Canada Day celebrations and spreading out to smaller parks and venues.
The band members are serious amateurs who practise weekly at the Utterson Community Hall and come from a variety of musical backgrounds that Barlow manages deftly to reign in and unite into one of the most beautifully and melodiously-sounding ensembles you’ll hear in Muskoka all year.
Reed player Richard Lamoureux, a retired music teacher (30 years) in the public system and professional player around the GTA and Buffalo, is typical of the players.
He says the talent level is “stimulating.”
He joined the band in 2007 as a sax player and moved to lead the flute section.
“It’s been fun to take on the challenge of playing some of the music.”
Perritt moved to Port Sydney in 2012 because of the MCB and the opportunity to pursue his part-time profession playing in local musical plays’ pit bands and the local art scene his wife participates in.
For Duncan, “playing the trumpet has been a serious hobby for me for my whole life and I am happy to have found an outlet. Neil Barlow is an excellent musician and conductor and brings out the best in musicians of all calibers, resulting in a fine performance.”
He’s been in the band just over a year after also moved fulltime to Lake of Bays in May 2012.
“I used to be chairman of The Hannaford Street Silver Band in Toronto. Hannaford is Canada’s only professional brass band (not the quintet) and my experience there will be used as I have recently joined the board of the MCB. We have started a corporate fundraising initiative by seeking sponsors for our indoor and summer concerts. So far we have commitments from two companies and the program has only just started. Sponsors get recognition at our concerts, complimentary tickets, and a chance to support the arts in Muskoka.”
Wilson said “when I retired in 2001 it was mandatory that I look for a place that had a band. I love to play music and it was mandatory for retirement to find a band. I found Muskoka had at least one band. I first joined the Bifocal Band and then the Muskoka Concert Band.
“Without music life would Bb — as in be flat.”
The band is also working with the town to build a permanent stage in RiverMillPark.
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