ALBEMARLE — After a year on pause, the local live-music scene is up and running once again thanks to a performance by the Stanly Concert Band and Pfeiffer University Concert Band this past Thursday night.
In a collaborative effort, the two bands joined forces and presented a free hour-long concert at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center that focused on material from the classical music genre.
Concert narrator Andy Cotton addressed the crowd with an introduction as the show began.
“Because of COVID-19 restrictions, it’s been a year since we’ve been able to present an open concert to the public, so we’re very excited to be here and to see you,” Cotton said. “Our concert features selections from classic band literature as well as current repertoire. We hope you hear one of your favorites among the selections.”
The 28 performers on stage reached all the way back to the year 1597 for their opening tune, “We Gather Together,” a traditional Dutch folk song that the band dedicated “to the frontline responders and essential workers and as a welcome-back piece for the band.”
The group’s following number, “Moving at the Speed of Sound,” focused on the brass, woodwind and percussion sections on stage; that tune was followed by a rendition of English composer Ray Vauhan Williams’ “My Bonny Boy,” which was originally debuted by a military band in 1923.
With the second half of the performance, the band moved into long-form songs and medleys, such as American Spectacular — containing Shenandoah; Simple Gifts; America, the Beautiful; and Battle Hymn of the Republic — as well as Emperata Overture.
“The band is about 40% capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions, but we hope to be back to full membership soon,” Cotton told the crowd as the musicians on stage prepared for their final stretch of the show. “The mission of the Stanly County Concert Band is to provide lifelong participation in music and enhance the cultural life of Stanly County with free or low-cost performances.”
It was announced that the band will hold its next concert on May 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Albemarle’s Market Station, a restored train station that has been converted into an event venue by Albemarle Downtown Development. That performance will kick off the 21st season of the Albemarle Parks & Recreation Summer Concert Series, “Thursdays at the Station.”
“I had so much fun at our Stanly County Concert Band concert tonight!” musical director Carmella Hedrick posted on the band’s Facebook page. “Thanks to all for their hard work and perseverance during the restrictions of the past year. We played some great pieces and had a great time! So honored to be a part of this wonderful ensemble!”
The band’s efforts are supported by the N.C. Art Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources, and are provided with funding assistance by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Stanly County Arts Council.