The West Point Band announces its Masterworks Concert Series from January through May 2020, with performances at West Point and surrounding communities throughout New York and New Jersey.
Each concert offers an eclectic mix of masterpieces for wind band, virtuosic solo features, uplifting and entertaining vocal numbers, as well as the marches and patriotic fare you’d expect from the Army’s oldest band.
The series also features two performances in West Point’s magnificent Cadet Chapel, showcasing the band’s brass and woodwind sections, respectively, and culminates with a performance of Brahms’ monumental 1st Piano Concerto.
As always, these concerts are free and open to all. For more information and to RSVP for performances, please visit westpointband.com.
Saturday, Jan. 18, 7 p.m., Cadet Chapel, West Point.
Join the West Point Band as we kick off our Masterworks Concert Series with a program featuring the Concert Band Brass and Percussion under the baton of guest conductor Robert Ponto. Set in the Cadet Chapel, you will be transported to another time by the rich harmonies and soaring melodies written by some of music history’s greatest composers: J.S. Bach, Johannes Brahms and Gustav Holst. This concert is for all ages, with music by Elton John and selections from the Harry Potter movies.
West Point Jazz Ensemble featuring Donald Harrison
Wednesday, Feb.12, 7:30 p.m., Haig Room in Jefferson Hall, West Point.
The West Point Jazz Ensemble, comprised of members of the West Point Band, is proud to present this performance in celebration of Black History Month, featuring special guest Donald Harrison. A celebrated New Orleans-born jazz saxophonist, Harrison is an adept performer and creator of a hard-swinging improvisational style called “Nouveau Swing,” a style of jazz merged with modern dance music like R&B, Hip-Hop, Soul and Rock.
Bernstein, Benny and Pierson
Saturday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m., Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center, Chester.
The West Point Band’s Masterworks series continues with this dynamic performance featuring powerhouse soloist Staff Sgt. Keith Kile as he presents the world premiere of the Concerto for Tuba and Wind Ensemble by Brooke Pierson.This program satisfies everyone’s tastes, with jazz-inflected solos like Benny and Lionel, featuring Staff Sgt. Manuel Ramos on clarinet and Sgt. 1st Class Craig Bitterman on vibraphone. Great concert works like Alfred Reed’s Hounds of Spring, and swing selections from the hit musical Thoroughly Modern Millie will round out the evening.
Note: Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center requires tickets for this event. Tickets are free and can be reserved at https://www.sugarloafpacny.com.
Barber, McGinty and Broadway
Sunday, March 1, 3 p.m., West Side Presbyterian Church, Ridgewood, N.J.
The West Point Band takes its Masterworks series to Ridgewood, New Jersey with a concert of music new and old for symphonic winds, including Felix Mendelssohn’s Konzertstucke No. 2 for two solo clarinets, performed by Master Sgt. Sam Kaestner and Staff Sgt. Julian Jenkins; Anne McGinty’s Syntonos, and Alfred Reed’s Hounds of Spring for wind ensemble. The performance is topped off with a delightful medley of swing selections from the hit musical Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Serenade for Winds
Saturday, March 21, 2 p.m., Cadet Chapel, West Point.
The artistry of the West Point Band’s wind section is on full display in this sophisticated and virtuosic program showcasing seminal works for chamber winds, including Charles Gounod’s Petite symphonie, Jean Françaix’s Musique pour faire plaisir, and Richard Strauss’ Serenade in E-flat. Both accessible and engaging, the concert concludes with two jazz-inflected works by American composer Alec Wilder that will get your toes tapping.
Hindemith, Dahl and Ticheli
Saturday, March 28, 7:30 p.m., Studley Theatre Auditorium, SUNY New Paltz.
The West Point Band continues its Masterworks series at SUNY New Paltz with this dramatic program featuring one of the greatest works for concert band, Paul Hindemith’s Symphony in B-flat, featuring guest conductor Alexander Gonzalez. You will be dazzled by the beguiling artistry of saxophonist Staff Sgt. Stacy Wilson in Ingolf Dahl’s Concerto for Saxophone and Wind Orchestra. An entertaining mix of patriotic and commercial fare, spotlighting vocalists Master Sgt. MaryKay Messenger and Sgt. Francisco Aisporna, rounds out the evening.
Variations on America
Sunday, April 5, 3 p.m., Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown, N.J.
The West Point Band takes the stage at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, New Jersey, in this concert of all-American music. From Charles Ives to Alan Fletcher, audience members will delight in this cutting-edge program featuring new American music from masters of our time. In Anthony Barfield’s Red Sky, trombonist Staff Sgt. Alaina Alster demonstrates an artistry of cosmic proportions with this solo based on the Big Bang Theory. The concert concludes with several time-tested Broadway hits sung by the band’s vocalists, followed by a heartfelt salute to all who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Note: the Mayo Performing Arts Center requires tickets for this event. To inquire about reserving free tickets, visit https://www.mayoarts.org, or call the box office at 973-539-8008.
Brahms’ Monumental 1st Piano Concerto
Saturday, May 9, 2 p.m., Eisenhower Hall Theatre, West Point.
The West Point Band concludes its 2020 Masterworks series back at West Point’s Eisenhower Hall Theatre with a breath-taking performance that culminates with the monumental Concerto for Piano, No. 1 by Romantic composer Johannes Brahms. The afternoon begins with Darius Milhaud’s charming Suite française, a piece filled with delightful folk tunes and oh-so-French whimsy. The rich harmonies and sweeping melodies of Johannes Brahms’ Concerto for Piano present a striking contrast in the second half of the program. Pianist Master Sgt. Yalin Chi returns to the stage as the band’s soloist for another awe-inspiring performance that will leave you spellbound.
For concert information, cancellations, and updates, call 845.938.2617 or visit www.westpointband.com. West Point Band news can also be found by following us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.