Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Musical Inter-County Interlude at Pottstown High School

Student musicians from 11 different middle schools and junior high schools took to the stage at
Pottstown High School Saturday night for the 58th Annual Inter-County Band Festival.

This is a wonderful tradition, in my view, that brings musicians from all the area school districts together to play and learn together, and to appreciate each other's skills.

A total of 16 different musical performances were made, including five by the jazz band and 11 by the joint concert band.

Because battery life is not eternal, your humble videographer did not record each performance, but rather went for a sampling.

The first is "Dies Irae," a portion of Guieseppe Verdi's "Requiem Mass," composed in 1874 in honor of the poet Alessandro Manzoni.

This piece was directed by Michael Agatone of Boyertown Junior High School East.

Next up is "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," which, as you no doubt have guessed, is a medley of songs from that landmark album by The Beatles.

This performance was directed by Paul DiRenzo of Perkiomen Valley Middle School East.

The Inter-County Jazz Band, directed by Brian Leonard of Arcola Intermediate School, played five pieces.

The first, "Jumpin' At the Woodside," by County Basie, which is posted here.

Unfortunately, in an attempt to preserve my i-Phone battery, I chose not to record the next piece they played, "Little Sunflower" by Freddie Hubbard, which was just excellent.

But I'm afraid you won't hear it here. What you will here next is "Libertango," a sharp Latin-themed piece by Astor Piazzolla. Enjoy.

The next performance I chose to record is a long one, more than seven minutes and is dedicated to the memory of Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday we celebrated earlier this month.

The title"Until Justice Rolls Down Like Waters," which is from The Bible, Book of Amos, and was a favorite intonation of King's and appears in several of this speeches.

This performance was directed by William Bonnell from Phoenixville Area Middle School.

And finally, we bring you a performance of "Washington Post March," one of John Phillip Sousa's most famous.

It was directed by this year's host director, Benjamin C. Hayes from Pottstown Middle School.

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