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Southwest Civic Winds concert celebrates Veterans Day
Trumpet Geezers also will participate in program at Piedra Vista
FARMINGTON — The Southwest Civic Winds, a 55-member concert band based in Durango, Colo., have been performing an annual concert series for the last several years. And every so often, when the calendar falls in line with the organization's schedule, it delivers a performance of largely patriotic music in honor of Veterans Day.
This year, those elements fell into place perfectly, meaning the Southwest Civic Winds will be joined by the Farmington-based Trumpet Geezers in performing a concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at Piedra Vista High School, 5700 College Blvd. in Farmington.
The program will begin with two pieces by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, the "Festive Overture" and "Waltz #2."
"It's a great opener," said Fort Lewis College music professor Mark Walters, who will be leading the Southwest Civic Winds in Saturday's performance, noting that listeners shouldn't read anything into Shostakovich's Russian heritage as any sort of political or historical statement. He said "Waltz #2" is a work that will have a high degree of familiarity for audience members.
"It falls into the category of 'Pieces I know but I don't know the name,'" he said, laughing.
Much of the remaining program will fall into the same category, Walters said, explaining that the organization strives to perform music that is challenging and enjoyable for the players while also being accessible to the audience.
The Trumpet Geezers, a group of 11 trumpet players who are all 50 or older, will join the Southwest Civic Winds on the program's next two pieces, "Bugler's Holiday" by Leroy Anderson and "Roller Coaster" by Johnny Cowell.
Walters said "Bugler's Holiday" traditionally features only three trumpet soloists, but this performance will feature 18 players. He laughed when asked if that would present any challenges for the performers.
"We'll see tomorrow," he said.
The Trumpet Geezers, joined by vocalist Amber Swenk, pianist Edie Farm and drummer Teun Fetz, will perform the middle section of the program, delivering a selection of tunes that includes John Newton's "Amazing Grace," Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," Lennon and McCartney's "Penny Lane," "George and Ira Gershwin's "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" and "Il Silenzaio" by Nini Rosso and Guglielm Brezza.
The Southwest Civic Winds will then return to the stage for the patriotic portion of the program, kicking off that segment of the evening with "The Star-Spangled Banner" before moving on to "British Eighth March" by Alonzo Elliott and "A Wish to the World: American Knights" by Stephen Milillo.
Walters described the latter as the highlight of the program, explaining that Milillo wrote the piece before 9/11, only to see it take on greater significance in the aftermath of that event, when he was especially moved by the heroism of the people who participated in the rescues.
"He was moved by the first responders and the common heroes," Walters said. "These were people not necessarily thought of as traditional American heroes, like military people. These people are with us every day, and they don't even know when they'll be called into action and become heroes. It's a beautiful, moving piece."
A performance of Samuel Augustus Ward's "America the Beautiful" will conclude the program.
Tickets are $15 at the door for adults and $5 for students. Visit southwestcivicwinds.org for more information.
Mike Easterling is the night editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.