2015 Community Concert – Discover San Francisco! from Drake to the Quake

Pete Nowlen, Artistic Director

April 25, 2015, 4pm

Everett Middle School, 450 Church St. @ 16th St., SF

Suggested donation: $10 – $20

On April 25, the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band (SFLGFB) will showcase San Francisco’s illustrious history, performing pieces recalling an epoch of imagination, vision and ingenuity. Having survived the devastation of the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906, the story of the “Jewel City” is a tale about the spirit of hope. San Francisco’s 1915 celebration commemorating the completion of the Panama Canal helped heal the wounds of the city’s disaster, and replaced despair with hope and optimism. Featuring musical classics from many of the great composers who journeyed to San Francisco for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), this colorful musical interpretation will include a Sousa modern premier.

The concert will open with San Franciscan, Mark Narins’, The Golden Finde – Drake at Point ReyesNarins’ beautifully evokes Sir Francis Drake’s desperate and harried arrival at Pt. Reyes, the tense initial interaction with the Miwok Indians he encountered, and the festivities that hailed the good relations that would follow.

Remembering the Spanish years of Alta California, the band will perform Roger Nixon’s, Fiesta del Pacifico. The piece, created by the former San Francisco State University Professor and award winning, native California composer, captures a feel of the rhythms and dances of the early settlers of California. During his life, Nixon composed orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo piano, choral ensembles and an opera, however Fiesta del Pacifico is Nixon’s most popular and most performed work.

Ferde Grofé’s, San Francisco Suite (as transcribed by SFLGFB member Kevin Tam), picks up the story at The Gold Rush and continues with Bohemian NightsThe Mauve Decade (the Roaring ‘90s) and 1906-1960. The piece paints scenes in music – ranging from a gunfight and chase scene to the 1906 quake itself – a dramatic and spectacular depiction, as only Grofé could do. Known most prominently for his Grand Canyon Suite, Grofé had deep San Francisco roots. Grofé started his career playing, as he affectionately termed it, “whorehouse piano,” on the Barbary Coast. The “Jewel City” was fruitful to Grofé, providing him with his first exposure to jazz, his first publishing deal, and his association with Paul Whiteman – the band leader who later hired him to score Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. This will be the first complete performance of Kevin Tam’s transcription!

The second half of the concert SFLGFB will play music of three composers who “headlined” at the 1915 PPIE: Victor Herbert, John Philip Sousa and Camille Saint-Saëns. The notable selections include:

  • Herbert’s Suite of Serenades which premiered on the same concert as Rhapsody in Blue. Known for his “variation” songs, Herbert utilizes elements of musical style from four distant international localesto tantalize the senses.
  • Pas Redouble,one of several pieces Saint-Saëns’ originally composed for Concert Band.
  • Sousa’s humoresque, Among My Souvenirs, will receive its modern premiere – having gone unpublished until recently unearthed and edited by Kevin Tam.

Concert Program

Mark Narins, The Golden Find; Drake at Pt. Reyes

  1. The Fogges
  2. Sailing into Pt. Reyes Harbor
  3. Repairs and Rejoicing
  4. The Miwoks
  5. Alarm
  6. Furious Dance for All

Roger Nixon, Fiesta del Pacifico

Ferde Grofé, San Francisco Suite (transcribed by Kevin Tam)

  1. The Gold Rush
  2. Bohemian Nights
  3. The Mauve Decade
  4. 1906-1960

Victor Herbert, Suite of Serenades (transcribed by Kevin Tam)

  1. Spanish
  2. Chinese
  3. Cuban
  4. Oriental

John Philip Sousa, Among My Souvenirs – Humoresque

Camille Saint-Saëns, Pas Redouble


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