The Salem County Brass Society, under the direction of Phil Blackman, will perform its 43rd annual Spring scholarship concert on Sunday, April 29, at 3:00 PM in the auditorium of Davidow Hall, Salem Community College, in Carney’s Point, NJ. The program will include a variety of musical style ranging from the 16th century to the present. Again this year, in addition to the brass, the program will feature special guests, the Woodstown High School Chamber Choir, under the direction of Kahlil Gunther. The brass will also present its annual scholarship and brass awards.
In honor of the recent Olympics, the concert will open with John Williams’ Olympic Fanfare, arranged by Jim Curnow and transcribed for the SCBS by former member, David Heintzelman. To showcase another musical style, the brass will step back into the 16th century, with Canzon noni toni a 8, Ch. 173 by Giovanni Gabrieli, and arranged by SCBS French horn player, John Kraybill. Gabrieli was the music director and organist at San Marco Basilica in Venice and in many of his works he created special effects by having one choir play first with a response played by the second choir. In contrast to the renaissance style, the brass will play the Josef Franz Wagner march, Unter dem Doppeladler (Under the Double Eagle). This march, written in 1893 and a favorite of John Philip Sousa, was the official regimental march of the Austrian Artillery Regiment #2. It may be best known to our audience from its use in the animation segment, “Conrad Poohs and His Dancing Teeth”, from Monty Python’s Flying Circus. An even different musical style is the Stevie Wonder tune, Sir Duke, from Wonder’s 1977 album Songs in the Key of Life. The song was a tribute to Duke Ellington and highlights the versatility of the group.
The featured guests, the Woodstown High School Chamber Choir have performed during past SCBS concerts and are always a special addition to the concert. This year, the brass and the choir will perform together a piece by Ralph Vaugh Williams “Wither Must I Wander?” arranged by Scott McCarron. Other pieces arranged by Scott McCarron in this concert include Gee, Officer Krupke from West Side Story, by Leonard Bernstein and Steven Sondheim, The Pioneers by Philip Sparke, and A Colonial Collage by James L. Hosay. The Pioneers celebrates the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and includes a touch of the wild west. The Hosay piece celebrates the musical styles of the Revolutionary Era and weaves together fife and drum music, country dance and the sacred hymn to reflect the life and culture of colonial America.
Phil Blackman holds a bachelor of science degree in music education from DePaul University and an MA in music education from Rowan University. He has served as band director in the Clayton and Triton school systems and currently is Vice President of P&B Fundraising, Inc. In addition to directing the SCBS Phil recently became primary conductor of the Pitman Hobo Band.
Kahlil V. Gunther, Choir Director, holds a Master’s Degree in Music from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Since 1995, he has served as the Director of Choral Activities at Woodstown High School where his ensembles regularly receive Superior ratings at festivals and competitions. He has worked extensively as a performing pianist, accompanist, musical director and vocal coach.
Scott McCarron holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education from Glassboro State College, where he graduated in 1989. He is in his 27th year as a music educator, having taught a year in the Voorhees School District, two years in the Palmyra School District, and 24 years in the Delsea Regional High School District. McCarron was selected as the 1999-2000 Delsea Regional High School recipient of the NJ Governor’s Teacher of the Year and has been nominated for the Princeton University Distinguished Secondary School Teaching Award. He has been very active in the South Jersey Band and Orchestra Directors Association and the New Jersey Music Educators Association.
Each year, the Salem County Brass Society promotes music throughout Southern New Jersey and Delaware by awarding a music scholarship to a deserving senior student, in any music discipline, from Salem County, Gloucester County, Cumberland County, and New Castle County. The senior must plan on attending college in the fall as a major in some music discipline. The award will be in the amount of $2000, to be given in two equal installments, at the award ceremony and at the beginning of the second academic year.
In addition, the Society also gives a Brass Award annually to one senior brass player in each high school in Salem County only. Each instrumental music director nominates a senior brass player who has done the most to promote the good of the high school band program. This brass player need not be going on to college, and, if so, is not required to major in music in order to receive the award. The award consists of a certificate and a $200 check.
The Brass Society, founded in 1974, is a non-profit musical organization dedicated to bringing quality brass music to the citizens of South Jersey, especially those in Salem County. Members of the group are music teachers and amateur musicians, many of whom reside in Salem County. In the tradition of the Brass Society, the concert at Union Presbyterian Church, 254 Shell Road in Carneys Point, is free. There is ample parking and the church is handicapped accessible. For information, please call (856) 468-7134.