Guest, Innovation Highlight Concert


Sarada Symonds, Staff Writer

Both the Concert and Symphonic Bands received healthy applause for their Winter Concert in the CPAC on February 28. The concert featured guest musician Diane Maltester, principal clarinetist for the Napa Valley Symphony, Vallejo Symphony, and Fremont Philharmonic Orchestra.

Maltester knew band director Johnny Johnson through her work with local music groups. She joined the group for its performance of “Concertino for Clarinet and Band” by Frank Bencriscutto. In order to prepare for the performance, Maltester practiced with the Symphonic Band twice. “It was a pleasure working the band,” she said. “They worked really hard, and it was great finally getting to work with the director of the concert.”

The band also faced difficulties when one of their best players fell ill. Flutist Annie Guo, who came down with pneumonia, was unable to play at the concert. Trumpeter Nicholas Fleming said, “People did a really good job at filling in at the last minute. We lost one of our best people.”

Despite the setback, the performance still shined. Johnson said, “I think they did terrific. I’m really proud.”

Euphonium player Charles Farber said, “I thought everyone tried their best and pulled it off and did a really great job.”

The concert also featured soloists. Trumpeter William Tamura said, “Several people, such as Andy Van Heuit, had solos that really shone through.”

The band has been practicing diligently everyday since their Fall Concert on November 15. The different musical sections, such as flutes and trumpets, also have occasional sectionals, where they spend extra time practicing by themselves. According to Johnson, performance is an essential part of the curriculum. “This was a good time for the performance because it falls after winter break but comes before the really hard testing,” he said.

The Concert Band played a special piece called “Regenisis (Song of the Planet)” by John Higgins in tribute to Mount St. Helens, a volcano whose spectacular 1980 eruption resulted in 57 deaths. In addition, Johnson gave a presentation to show some of the effects of the event. “I’ve done that piece with another band, and I felt that this group was ready for that kind of piece,” he said.

Other pieces by the Concert Band, which performed before the Symphonic Band, included “Concert Overture” by Robert G. Johnson and “The Red Balloon” by Anne McGinty.

The symphonic band also used new musical techniques in their performance of “Crystals” by Thomas C. Duffy, such as “half murmurs” from the trombone section and the “lion’s roar,” which involves sticking twine in the membrane of a drum in order to make a noise like a lion’s roar. “They’re alternative methods of creating sound, and it was a very unique experience using non-conventional instrumentation to create a visceral and unusual sound,” Fleming said.

The Symphonic band also performed “Canzona,” “Komm, Susser Tod” by Johann Sebastian Bach,  “Serenade, Op. 22″ by Derek Bourgeois, and “Suite of Miniature Dances” by Louis Applebaum. The night ended with the Symphonic Band’s performance of “The Purple Carnival” by Harry L. Alford. Farber said, “I really like the ‘Canzona’ because it was a really fun, fast piece to play.”

This is Johnson’s first winter concert at Campolindo. Fleming said, “Mr. Johnson is really passionate, and I think it really shows in the music.”