Talk about a jam session.
Put 57 random musicians in a room and most people would want to lock the door and run. But Mark Walters has taken that chaos and created not only order but harmony. The director of bands at Fort Lewis College, working side-by-side with music store owner Ruth Katzin, will lead the Southwest Civic Winds in the groups third concert Thursday at the Community Concert Hall at FLC.
Dances with Whales is the groups spring concert though it comes six days short of winters end. The program will feature two dance suites: the San Antonio Dances by Frank Ticheli and the classic Suite of Old American Dances by Robert Russell Bennett. The program takes its name from the other featured work, W. Francis McBeths five-movement Of Sailors and Whales, a musical tribute to Herman Melvilles Moby Dick. The Melville tribute also includes spoken narration by Gordon Thomas, the husband of FLC President Dene Thomas.
Rounding out the program will be two short pieces. Perthshire Majesty is a traditional Scottish folk tune and the Valdres March comes from Norway.
With only two concerts under their belts, its hard to call the Civic Winds seasoned, but Walters said the band has acquitted itself well so far. The first concert was in April 2012 at the Community Concert Hall and that was followed by a free concert in July in Rotary Park. Many of the musicians are veteran performers, including some of Walters fellow FLC music faculty members and high school educators. But practice still makes perfect, and with only three rehearsals, Walters has to accomplish a lot in a short period of time.
Its a lot of fun, and the groups great, but they were a bit off, and I had to read the riot act to them yesterday, Walters said about Sundays second practice.
The final rehearsal for Thursdays concert will be held tonight.
He has very high standards. The stuff that sounded OK to me, he wasnt happy with, but hes the master, so he knows what hes doing, said Karen Mesikapp, one of the Civic Winds ringers. Mesikapp is a violist with the San Juan Symphony who said the Civic Winds provides a nice diversion; the band has no string section and Mesikapp plays trombone in the community band. She said she has had previous bad experiences with similar startup attempts, but words such as volunteer, community and just for fun belie the quality of this group.
Ive discovered that the things I didnt like players who arent good, being forced to play horrible music arent the case here, Mesikapp said. We have excellent players, and play real music written by real composers. Its just a joy to play in.
The Civic Winds is a unique bunch. Community bands are not a new concept, but the level of professionalism sets the Durango group apart. Band members come from Pagosa Springs, Cortez and northern New Mexico to participate. Such dedication speaks to the musicians commitment.
Ive got people going out and buying pro instruments theyre into this thing, Walters said.
The Southwest Civic Winds summer concert will be held July 21 at Rotary Park.