COOS BAY — The Bay Area Concert Band is offering a spring concert featuring American composers. Steve Simpkins will lift the baton for the concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at the North Bend Presbyterian Church located just east of Pony Village Mall.
Program selections will include compositions by composers you are familiar with, such as George Gershwin and Aaron Copland. Gershwin works will include "Second Prelude" and "The Symphonic Gershwin." The latter is a collection of his songs including "An American In Paris," "Cuban Overture" and "Rhapsody in Blue."
Gershwin had an interesting career. He dropped out of school at the age of 15 to pursue music. He worked for several years by playing songs to cut music rolls for player pianos. Later he became a song plugger; people would come into sheet music stores and wish to hear a song before they purchased the music. He would play it. This experience greatly increased his dexterity and helped him become an excellent sight reader. Next, he began writing compositions of his own. The one that skyrocketed him to success was "Swanee" to be sung by Al Jolson in the musical "Sinbad." It sold two million recordings and one million copies of the sheet music. Perhaps his most famous was "Rhapsody in Blue." He had been asked by Paul Whiteman to write a song for a show he was going to put on in the month of March. Gershwin agreed and then forgot about the promise until he saw an article in a paper in February stating that his song was to be featured. He got busy and wrote the whole composition in three weeks.
Lesser known composers will be Louis Moreau Gottshchalk's "Pasquinade" and Claudio S. Grafulla's "Washington Grays" as well as others, offering the concert goer a nice variety of music.
Mark this date on your calendar and come out to support your local musicians. The concert is free but donations would be appreciated. The money is used to defray band expenses, some of which were formerly covered by Southwestern Community College but BACB is no longer affiliated with the college. The remainder is used to provide scholarships for young musicians participating in the band.
BACB meets to rehearse every Thursday at Sunset Middle School.