Conductor Notes

Dr. John Snavely, Music Director/Conductor

Dear Green Valley Concert Band family, our 2018-'19 concert season promises to be deliciously satisfying! Our new concert themes explore the joy and beauty of music and familiar sounds as well as exotic music from near and far. My personal quest is to make each concert memorable and delightful, as well as interesting, exciting and entertaining. Concert titles and dates follow with some previews of some pieces in each event:

 

Opening Outdoor Concerts:

Continental Mall Plaza Oct 26: 4 p.m.

Historic Canoa Ranch Oct 28, 5 p.m.

“The Joy of Music: Spice of Life, Cuisine of the Soul!”

You won't want to miss these fun and entertaining first concerts! Opening with America The Beautiful and The Thunderer March by Sousa, we will play music of diverse styles exploring how music enriches our lives in many ways, shapes and forms. Movement 8 of Symphony On Themes of John Philip Sousa explores how the melody of the previously played march,The Thunderer, sounds completely different with slower tempi, alternate harmonic background and softer dynamics. A beautiful work, Joy Of Music, reflects the title of this concert with music designed to uplift the soul. Hall Of The Mountain King by Grieg shifts to a music in a minor key yet delightful in nature. Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens is appropriate for Halloween just around the corner with musical simulations of skeletons dancing. October, by contemporary band composer Eric Whitacre, is a truly soothing, beautiful selection of music played by our band. Abracadabra by Frank Ticheli adds some magical fun to our concert, and First Suite For Band by Gustav Holst brings you the musical touch and spark of genius. For the grand finale we will tap into the musical gifts of our audience with a Sing Along of Old West Cowboy Songs.

 

December 9th, 7 p.m., Sahuarita District Auditorium

“Holiday Music for a Joyous Season, The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!”

At the top of our concert we perform the title piece The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year. Feel free to hum, sing along or simply tap your foot! Next our brass will surround the audience on the left and right sides of our stage with amazing stereophonic sound in A Christmas Intrada by Alfred Reed, one of the true master composers of concert band music. The beauty of traditional English Carols will be heard in Gustav Holst's Christmas Day performed exquisitely by our very own Green Valley musicians. Ever imagined a jazz version of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker? We promise this music will bring a smile to your face and you will want to restrain yourselves from jumpin' and jivin' in the aisles while our band plays its heart out! Bassoon It Will Be Christmas? No, not a typo! This piece for three bassoons and band is sure to delight! Traditional Hanukkah melodies always add excitement to our concerts, and this year we will present a lively new arrangement, Hanukkah Festival Overture. Today Is The Gift is a tribute to Rosa Parks, and our musicians will play and also sing in this intriguing selection. Our grand finale for this concert is the epic Christmas Festival Overture by the Norman Rockwell of American music and arranger for the Boston Pops, Leroy Anderson.

 

January 20th, Sahuarita District Auditorium, 7p.m.:

Out Of This World!: Music of the Planets, Stars and Space Exploration

Our January concert will take you on an exciting tour of the sun, planets and our own musical stars without even leaving your seat! We begin with Sun Dances by Frank Ticheli who guest conducted our band and youth Honor Band. Jupiter, Bringer Of Jollity arranged by Holst from his famous Planets is such a musical treat! Accounts of astronauts from the International Space Station inspired Launch, Floating Yet Falling and Space Walk in Balmages' descriptive Open Space. Back to earth for instrumental renditions by our band stars in Stardust! Famed march king John Philip Sousa composed the lively concert music By The Light Of The Polar Star. After intermission we present Star Trek Symphonic Suite, the drammatic and beautiful music The Fate Of The Gods and then back to earth with a gorgeous arrangement of It Might As Well Be Spring featuring trombone soloist and band President Rusty Carle-Ogren.

 

March 3, 7 p.m. Sahuarita District Auditorium:

The Orient Express: The Silk Road and Beyond!

Take a musical ride on The Orient Express, a train line created in 1883 to climb high in the mountains between Paris and Constantinoble. Hear the whistles, chugging engine, track sounds and also glorious music depicting spectacular mountain scenes! Chinese Spring Overture is fast paced and full of percussive exclamations typical of Chinese folk music. Traveling next to Japan, three movements from Julie Giroux's Symphony #4, Bookmarks From Japan. You will experience delightful music depicting Mt. Fuji, a famous Market Bridge “Nihanbashi” and Evening Snow At Kambara described by a listener as “The most beautiul music I ever heard!” A masterful piece Variations On A Korean Folk Song begins with the famous Korean folk song Arirang and takes that tune, scatters it through the band playing fast, slow and medium all at the same time! You will hear the theme played upside down (inversion), as a march, with percussion features and ending with glorious majectic sounds. Rising Dragons commemorates a Korean Naval hero and you will hear the sounds of ironclad Korean Navy ships, the “Rising Dragons” as well as lovely folk melodies. A brass quintet from our GVCB band members will perform a movement from Shadowcatcher, a Native American related work displaying the inspiring technique of our brass accompanied by our own wonderous band! We will come back home with some beautiful sing or hum along medlies of tunes from the good old U.S.A.

 

April 14, 7 p.m. Sahuarita District Auditorium:

The Best Music of the Americas and all that Jazz!

A must attend concert! Rhapsody In Blue by George Gershwin will feature amazing pianist Eileen Perry Prager Schwartz who was first noticed and sponsored by Leonard Bernstein! Her mother knew George Gershwin's grandmother, and her father performed with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra playing trumpet. No question that Eileen, being raised in New York around many top musicians knows Gershwin's rhapsody better than any other pianist on the planet! Eileen until recently was professor of Piano at Pima Community College and has enriched the lives of thousands of students. Pedagogically she is related through her Russian teacher Ozan Marsh to piano virtuoso Franz Liszt. Enjoy Jazz Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Band featuring members of our stellar sax section! Hillary Engel who awed us with her performance on multiple percussion last season will be back again for an encore. Energetic, vibrant music from South America and Mexico will provide excitement and variety, and an overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein will be brilliantly performed!

 

Sincerely,

John Snavely
Conductor and Musical Director
Green Valley Concert Band

 

 

Biography

John Snavely, affectionately know as “Dr. John,” earned his doctorate at the University of Arizona. He began his conducting career when he founded the Evening Wind Symphony in the mid-1990's at Pima Community College in Tucson. Now the ensemble is Sonora Winds and John remains musical director. In the mid 2000's GVCB board members came to a Sonora Winds concert, saw him conduct Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue, and hired him to be their musical director. As a high school senior, John won an audition and performed with the American Youth Performs Orchestra in Carnegie Hall under the baton of Carmen Dragon. He performed all summer in 1971 with the first Disneyland All American College Band. John is a member of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra where he won an audition to play clarinet and bass clarinet in 1969, his first year at the University of Arizona. He has also performed with the Phoenix Symphony and Flagstaff Summer Festival orchestra and is principal clarinetist with the Tucson Pops Orchestra. His doctoral lecture recital, Benny Goodman's Commissioning Of Clarinet Concertos, was performed for the International Clarinet Society's Clarfest in the summer of 1991, and then again for the British Society of Clarinetists and Saxophonists in Ripon, England during their 1993 summer meeting. John toured Arizona, Mexico and Puerto Rico as an artist roster member of the Arizona Commission On The Arts with the Sonora Quartet (saxophones) and his own ensemble Concertissimo. He performed for a decade with the Arizona Musicfest in Carefree, Arizona and performed Ibert's Concertino as alto saxophone soloist with the orchestra. His career includes woodwind, music education and music history teaching at Pima College, University Of Arizona, and Black Hills State University. He was program director and instructor of the Tucson Symphony's Young Composer Project for seven years in the early 1990's enabling middle and high school students to compose works and hear them played by the Tucson Symphony Chamber Orchestra. John assisted in founding Opening Minds Through The Arts for the Tucson Unified School district and co-authored a major grant from the U.S. Department of Education, funding the program for it's first three years. His current teaching position is as an Arts Integration Specialist at Howell Elementary. This December John is completing thirty years as director of childrens' and youth music at St. Mark's Presbyterian Church in Tucson.