USA East Music BULLETIN - WINTER 2019/20 - ISSUE 4 - Page 15

By Tom Scheibner, Assistant Territorial Music Secretary, THQ DECEMBER 13, 2019 — The Montclair Citadel Band sponsored their annual Christmas Benefit Concert at the corps on Friday night, December 13, 2019. As has been the case in previous years, all proceeds from the event helped support The Salvation Army’s hunger and homeless services. Special guests were featured in the program, along with the Montclair Citadel Band. Montclair’s own Aaron VanderWeele was featured as guest euphonium soloist and provided a wide variety of solos to satisfy everyone’s tastes. Aaron is also the Principal Euphonium and Euphonium Soloist of the New York Staff Band and serves on the faculty of Mason Gross School of the Arts – Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey. Among the many accolades he has earned over the years, perhaps the one that stands out the most is the awarding of International Euphonium Player of the year in 2007 – only the third American to receive this prestigious recognition. Also featured as guests were the North Jersey Home School Association (NJHSA) Chorale, directed by Dr. Beth Prins. This home schooled group of students form a choir of about 30 members. Concerts, rehearsals, group devotions and other activities are all designed to encourage a deeper walk with God. The mix of songs presented on this evening were well received by the near capacity crowd in attendance. The citadel band presented items that were carefully placed throughout the program, including “Joy to the World” (arr. DiLorenzo), “Advent Hymn” (Rayment), “Yule Dance” (Harper) and “Fantasy of the Bells” (Pearce). The major work of the evening for the band was Bramwell Tovey’s “Coventry Variations”, which used as its theme the Christmas song Coventry Carol. Starting with the tune, several variations were presented – some depicting the horrors of World War II and the destruction reigned on the city of Coventry by German forces, including the destruction of the Coventry Cathedral. Aaron’s euphonium solos were both accompanied by the band but also featured the outstanding piano accompanist (and soloist) Dr. Azusa Komiyama. In addition to accompanying Aaron, Dr. Komiyama was featured as a guest soloist in her own right on “Les Sylvans, Opus 60” (Chaminade). Her presentation was spectacular. Aaron featured several solos with the band, including “O Holy Night” (arr. Wilkinson), and “Auld Land Syne” (arr. Wilkinson). The NJHS Chorale presented 2 sets of enjoyable music, and featured some of the following titles: “Ding Dong! Merrily on High” (arr. Helvey), “Deck the Halls” (arr. Parker/ Shaw), “White Christmas” (arr. James) and “Grown Up Christmas List” (arr. Hayes). Dr. Prins, conductor of the group, has excellent credentials including performances at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. It was easy to see why the group responded to her leadership and performed admirably on all items. Plans are already underway for a similar benefit concert in 2020. It is not too early to put this event on your calendar for next December! ■