Painting portraits of the masters

The annual Repasz Band spring concert, “Copland Portrait,”will be held at 7:30 p.m. April 12 at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.

The music of great American composer Aaron Copland will resound in the hall during the concert. From the marvelous brass and percussion blasts of “Fanfare For The Common Man”to energy of “Hoedown from Rodeo,”Clare Grundman’s “Copland Portrait”paints a sketch of some of the master’s most abiding musical legacies.

Also in the musical blockbuster category are Antonin Dvorak’s “Slavonic Dances,”arranged for concert band by James Curnow. These pieces show magnificent and frequently sudden dramatic changes in both tempo and dynamics that demonstrate the “joie d’vivre” of the Slavonic soul.

In addition, two driving Spanish-style entrees will ply the exotic in different directions: Strommen’s “Fuego del Alma”(“Fire Of The Soul”) and “Malaguena,”originally by Cuban musician Ernesto Lecuona and retrofitted by Stan Kenton and Sammy Nestico. The first includes intense stylistic signatures of both the paso doble and flamenco, and the latter is noteworthy in its driving big band jazz sound.

As always, the Repasz Band strives to preserve the heritage of American and other traditional marches, and in the spring concert the band will feature the sounds of John Philip Sousa’s “Comrade’s of The Legion,”Karl King’s “Cyrus The Great,”Henry Fillmore’s “Our Own Red, White, and Blue”and finally, a German march, “Aufwaerts”(“Onwards”) by Ernst Luthold.

Two special feature numbers will be performed by a select saxophone quartet: “Londonderry Air”and the McLeod arrangement of “The Maple Leaf Rag,”by Scott Joplin.

There also are two numbers in the concert’s repertory that stand singularly alone in commentary. One is “Esprit De Corps,”by Robert Jager, a driving concert band fantasia built upon the United States Marine Hymn. An initial tempo marking in this piece indicates “tempo bourgeois”in honor of retired Marine Col. John Bourgeois, emeritus conductor of the President’s Own Marine Band. Translated, the tempo approximates “urgently fast.”

The other number of singular note is a composition entitled “Dear Stephanie,”by Williamsport native son and rising composer Jeremy Leidhecker. “Dear Stephanie”was commissioned by the Gateway High School Bands in loving memory of Stephanie Read, daughter of Gateway High School Band Director, Robert A. Read.

It is a composition of transcendent peace, rising from love in honor and loving memory of a daughter gone on. The concert piano has an important role, supported by rich tapestries of interwoven instrumental harmonies. The band is honored to both offer this work as an ongoing prayer with the Read family and to affirm the talent and skill of a fine young composer from this area.

Admission to the concert is free of charge.

The Repasz Band, in continuous existence since 1831, is under the direction of 44-year veteran director Albert J. Nacinovich and assistant director Jeffrey Dent.

For more information, visit www.repaszband.org.