A musical potpourri to be featured at LACW concert

-A A +A
By Kirsten Laskey

The Los Alamos Community Winds ensemble is offering a musical mixture during its upcoming concert. The audience’s ears will immediately pick up tried-and-true pieces such as Igor Stravinsky’s score for the ballet, “The Firebird,” and Tchaikowsky’s 1812 Overture. But other works such as March to the Scaffold from “Symphonie Fantastique” and Emperata Overture may offer a new listening experience to attendees.


Trumpet player Mike Burns commented that these popular works are cultural icons. Performing and listening to these famous pieces pushes the audience and the musicians closer together, he said.

“Certainly the popular pieces will resonate with the audience quickly and … (brings) the ensemble closer with the audience and closer to the community,” Burns said. “The conductor, Ted Vives, likes to challenge the ensemble … and also can help expand the experience to the community.”

Saxophone player Phil Tubesing added creating the program was done democratically.

“We often have had themed concerts such as ‘Lord of the Rings.’ This is our 10th season, so we took a poll among our musicians and Ted Vives, our musical director, has a number of pieces he very much would like to conduct.” Tubesing said. “I think it came out of a combination of Ted’s interest and the input from band members.”  

The main piece, Stravinsky’s suite for “The Fire Bird,” is the composer’s most popular work, a press release reported.

For nearly six decades, the composer conducted it hundreds of times, even though he had since moved on to more radical and astringent styles.

As with many of Stravinsky’s works, “The Firebird,” presents the performers with a tremendous challenge, the press release stated. This challenge is enhanced in the wind transcription by Randy Earles.

“So much of the piece requires the performers to play literally as soloists – very independently,” Vives said in the release.

“This independence gives the work a level of difficulty that is not often seen in works for concert band. While our players are quite good, the demands of the soloistic writing are what will make this performance stand out from many of our others.”

“This music is very challenging for any group, not just our group,” clarinet player Joyce Guzik added. “It will be interesting to see how well we play it. It’s very dramatic music.”

It’s a challenge the winds ensemble will meet, Tubesing said.

“I think that the ensemble has continued to improve over the 10 years we have been together,” he said. “And this community has a tremendous number of very talented musicians. And I think that we have a core group of very dedicated people who work hard to be able to perform very difficult music.

“I’ve always found that when you perform a difficult piece and perform it well it’s satisfying for the performer and for the audience.”

The Community Winds has a lot to celebrate, not only for tackling challenging material but also for turning 10 years old.

“We have another concert coming up on May 22 and that is going to be our 10th anniversary celebration concert,” Tubesing said. “And we’ll be performing ‘Carmina Burana’ along with the high school choirs.”

Before the big anniversary bash, hear some  musical variety at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at White Rock Baptist Church.

Donations of $10 will be accepted during the concert.