Playing it all ‘By the Numbers’
Plymouth Concert Band combines music and math
Music has mysterious and uncanny relationships with numerals and quantities. While most might see music as purely expressive or enlightened, underneath there is a tapestry of codes and values that drive a composition’s beauty.
The Plymouth Concert band will explore this relationship at its free “By the Numbers” concert 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 18, at the Wayzata High School Auditorium, 4955 Peony Lane, Plymouth.
The band is comprised of nearly 60 adult musicians from the Plymouth and Metro area and has been performing for the past 13 years.
Plymouth Concert Band began when a group of musicians approached the City of Plymouth to strike up a partnership. The city liked the idea of supporting a concert band and decided to run with it.
Approximately 40 percent of the band’s funding comes from the Plymouth Fine Arts Council. While the band plays at a number of city functions, the band primarily organizes and performs its own concerts, as well as touring the Metro.
The musicians are a mix of amateurs, music educators and professionals. Auditions are held in efforts to ensure that player’s ability levels match those of the band as a whole. The original idea of Plymouth Concert Band was to create something more refined than a typical community band.
Music educator at Wayzata High School and Plymouth Concert Band Director David Elmhirst says he is proud of the level of skill the group of woodwinds, brass and percussion has accomplished.
“We’ve got good players in every section,” Elmhirst said. “The people in the band really care about what’s going on. We have a culture of excellence and everybody has bought into it.”
Elmhirst said “By the Numbers” will be a showcase of that talent. The idea behind the program is to guide the audience through the various numeric values in music.
Elmhirst gave these examples; “Four Shaker Songs,” by Frank Ticheli, is a four-movement suite of shaker folk songs. Each one has two themes and is conducted in two time. “Profanation,” from the “Jeremiah Symphony” by Leonard Bernstein, tries to depict the chaos and upheaval of the world through constant shifting rhythm and meter. “Sevens,” by Sam Hazo, is a composition written in a jazz style that takes advantage of unique rhythms and the interval of the seventh.
“I’m always looking for some binding idea when I choose our repertoire for a concert,” he said. “I thought we should do something that involves compositions that are a bit more interesting from a rhythmic standpoint.”
Plymouth Concert Band has been rehearsing “By the Numbers” since mid-September at Wayzata High School. The program will run about 90 minutes and is a formal concert. Children are allowed to attend, but they must remain quiet and respectful throughout the show.
Elmhirst said the band has been working very hard to produce the best program possible.
“People will be surprised how good the band is,” he said. “I think everyone will be genuinely impressed with how professional sounding and what a high level of music this ensemble is right in their back yard.”
The band usually holds a production each year the weekend before Thanksgiving, due to auditorium availability at the high school.
Other upcoming shows include “Holiday Concert,” on Dec. 9. “Music from Around the World,” on March 10, 2013. “Sound of the Trumpet featuring Chuck Lazarus,” on May 4, 2013. All shows are scheduled at the Wayzata High School Auditorium.
More information can be found at plymouthconcertband.org.