2021 Fall Concert Program

Friday, November 12, 2021 at 7PM
Root River Center

    Words and Music by Fred Rogers, arr. Paul Murtha

Upon his return to Pittsburgh from Canada he  launched the present-day version of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in 1966. The program aired for the first time nationally in 1968.

With graduate studies in child development as well as his divinity degree, Fred was well-prepared to speak directly to his pre-school audience.
“I’ll never forget the sense of wholeness I felt when I finally realized, after a lot of help from a lot of people, what, in fact, I really wasn’t. I was not just a songwriter or a language buff or a student of human development or a telecommunicator, but someone who could use every talent that had ever been given to me in the service of children and their families.” 

    Gustav Holst

The Planets is an orchestral suite -- what composer Gustav Holst called, “a series of mood pictures” -- where each movement depicts one planet. The suite contains seven movements: although eight planets were known to exist (Pluto had not yet been discovered, much less demoted), Earth is at the center in the astrological scheme.

Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity The most massive of the planets, possessing twelve satellites (one of them larger than the planet Mercury), named for the light‑bringer, the rain‑god, the god of thunderbolts, of the grape and the tasting of the new wine, of oaths, treaties, and contracts, and from whom we take the word “jovial.” “Jupiter,” says Noel Tyl, “symbolizes expansiveness, scope of enthusiasm, knowledge, honor, and opportunity . . . [and] corresponds to fortune, inheritance, bonanza.” Holst gives us an unmistakably English Jupiter. In 1921 Holst took the big tune in the middle and set to it as a unison song with orchestra the words, “I vow to thee, my country.”

    G.B. Pergolesi

A trombone trio featuring band members Steve Clairey, Adam McLimans, and Shannon McLimans.

    Eric Whitacre, arr. by Verena Mosenbichler-Bryant

May we sing together, always
May our voice be soft
May our singing be music for others
And may it keep others aloft
Sing, sing gently, always
Sing, sing as one (as one)
May we stand (may we stand) together, always
May our voice be strong
May we hear the singing and
May we always sing along (along)
Sing, sing gently, always
Sing, sing as one (as one)
Singing gently as one

    Leonard Bernstein, transcribed by Clare Grundman

Leonard Bernstein often said: "Every author spends his entire life writing the same book." The same could apply to composers.

Probing the existential questions that haunt us was a hallmark of Bernstein both as a person and composer. He was not satisfied unless he was immersed in major issues, upending and questioning the status quo, often with irreverence and insouciance. That was what made Bernstein so much fun to be around and imbued his music with such depth.

How many people would even consider turning Voltaire's satirical novella from 1759, Candide, into musical theater, let alone jump at the opportunity?
Playwright Lillian Hellman approached Bernstein in 1953 with the concept. They delighted in the idea of drawing parallels between Voltaire's satirical portrayal of the Catholic Church's blatant hypocrisy and violence and the inquisition-like tactics then being implemented by the U.S. government under the House of Representatives' House Un-American Activities Committee.

Voltaire's charges against society in the 1750s — puritanical snobbery, phony moralism, inquisitional attacks on the individual — all rang true for Hellman and Bernstein in the 1950s. They set out with zeal to create a show that would capture a contemporary Voltaire viewpoint
The central message Voltaire conveys in Candide is that all is not for "the best in the best of all possible worlds." The book satirizes and debunks that philosophy, which had gained traction in the mid-eighteenth century (when Voltaire wrote this work).


    Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, arr. W.J. Duthoit

Directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, the 1961 film adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical stars Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, and George Chakiris. Released on October 18, 1961, the MGM film received high praise from critics and viewers, and became the second highest-grossing film of the year in the United States. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 10.

    arr. Pam Wilsens

A bassoon duet featuring band members Pam Wilsens and Susan Byshenk.

    Edward Elgar, arr. Alfred Reed

The Enigma Variations consist of an original theme upon which 13 variations and a finale are built. Elgar placed a cryptic name or initials on each variation and let it be known that  these represented friends of his.  This created quite a buzz and now it is known exactly which persons are concerned. Nimrod is the variation of his most noble friend who gave Elgar advice and helped him get earlier works published.

    Michael Markowski

The title of this work is a direct allusion to the faux binomial (the scientific Latin name) of Wile E. Coyote. Very roughly translated as  Fantastically Famished.  It was written to mark the 100th birthday of the late great Looney Tunes director Chuck Jones. The composer describes himself as “fully”qualified to watch movies and cartoons.

    Words and Music by Jim Henson and Sam Pottle, arr. Paul Murtha

The Muppet Show is a half-hour variety show in which Kermit the Frog and the Muppets put on a weekly musical/comedy revue at The Muppet Theatre. Unfortunately for them, things never quite go according to plan, for the Muppets or their weekly guest stars.

While Kermit had been featured extensively in other programs in the past, this show marked the introduction of a large, varied cast, including the hapless comedian Fozzie Bear, the diva superstar Miss Piggy, the lunatic daredevil artiste Gonzo, the wild drummer Animal, the unintelligible Swedish Chef, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his hapless assistant Beaker of Muppet Labs, and many others. Their performances consistently fail to entertain the old curmudgeons Statler and Waldorf, who provide a running commentary of wise-cracks