The Vance-Granville Community Band will hold its annual spring concert on Monday, May 1, at 7:30 p.m. at McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center in historic downtown Henderson. Admission is free of charge.
This will be the second time that the Community Band has held a concert at the 1,000-seat venue, located at 201 Breckenridge Street in Henderson.
The concert is set to feature some classics of band literature, including the original transcription of the famous overture to "The Barber of Seville" by Rossini; two classic Sousa marches, "Hands Across the Sea" and "The Black Horse Troop"; as well as two additional traditional marches, "Free Spirit" and the 1911 "Ringling Brothers Grand Entry March."
According to Community Band director Brian D. Miller, “bands should always play the classics of literature. No concert is complete without several marches, and Sousa wrote marches better than anybody else! Marches are the all-time greatest music written for band, and we have certainly had a lot of fun learning these.”
Miller noted that it is of local interest that John Philip Sousa himself vacationed in Henderson in 1920. He went hunting with the mayor of Henderson and spent the night at the mayor's home while here.
The band will also perform a transcription of music from the 1949 Broadway musical, "South Pacific." Other selections include the "Finale" from Dvorak's Ninth Symphony and an entr'acte from the seldom-heard Romantic-era opera, "King Manfred," which is "a beautiful composition," according to Miller.
The band will feature its star tuba player, Justin Bare, on a tuba solo with band accompaniment entitled "The Grumbly Old Bear," written by Julius Fucik, better known for his popular circus march, "Entry of the Gladiators." Finally, for lighter fare, the band will pay tribute to the Beach Boys and the Eagles with medleys of those groups' greatest hits.
"It's a concert for everybody," quipped Miller. "We want everybody to come and appreciate the work of these musicians. The ensemble is truly representative of our four-county service area. Nothing beats an old-fashioned band concert!"
Miller retired as band director at Louisburg High School and now teaches for VGCC and Crosscreek Charter School.
The Community Band, which is sponsored by the VGCC Division of Arts and Sciences, includes people of all ages, from all walks of life, and from throughout the region. No auditions are required. Rehearsals are held on Monday evenings from 7-9 p.m. at the Vance-Granville Community College Civic Center, on the Main Campus in Henderson, at Exit 209 on Interstate 85 (Poplar Creek Road). For more information, contact Brian Miller at (919) 496-5877 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or Betsy Henderson at email@example.com.
Above: Brian Miller conducts the Vance-Granville Community Band during its 2016 Christmas concert at McGregor Hall. (VGCC photo)