Musicians gear up for their first concert

Beth Kean directs the large ensamble at South High last year on Dec. 10. Photo by Christopher Edwards.

The Laramie County Community College vocal and instrumental groups are getting ready for their first performances of the school year. Frank Cook, the instrumental music instructor, and Beth Kean, the vocal instructor, both gave insight on what they have planned this semester.


Cook has a Heroes of the Mediterranean theme for the wind ensemble planned for the first concert at 3 p.m. Oct. 21 in the East High Auditorium. He gave insight on what his four pieces of music for the wind ensemble meant for the first concert.


“‘Army of the Nile,’ that is commemorating the British victory over the Italian army in Egypt during World War II,” Cook said. “‘Odysseus and the Sirens,’ Odysseus is trying to travel home and this is the island of the shrieking sirens where they draw the ships in.


“‘Nessun Dorma,’ which is from a Puccini opera called Turandot, is an Italian who has gone to Persia, and the queen there is Turandot. She kills anyone who can not guess three riddles correctly. She’s so beautiful that she attracts people from all over the world who tries to claim her hand in marriage. Everyone in the town is waiting anxiously as to whether or not he’s going to be beheaded in the morning. What she doesn’t know is that he has a riddle. In order to get out of marrying him she must know what his name is. She commands that no one sleeps until she knows what his name is. Everyone in the town is waiting anxiously as to whether or not he’s going to be beheaded in the morning,” Cook said. “The last one there is the ‘Danse Bacchanale,’ that’s from a biblical story called Samson and Delilah. Samson was very strong and he had hair, and his hair was his strength so when Delilah seduced him and found out that his hair was his strength they cut all of his hair off, then he wasn’t strong enough. The pagans are celebrating because they stripped him of his power, but during their dance he prays loud enough to God to give him the strength one last time to overcome. He gives him enough strength to pull the temple pillars down and it collapses on everybody, killing himself, but also killing the pagans.”


As for the jazz band members, Cook said that they will be playing standard jazz tunes because the group doesn’t have full instrumentation yet, but they’re having fun with it.


Kean said she has a folk tunes throughout culture type theme for the choirs first concert at 3 p.m. Oct 28 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.


“For this first concert I picked folk tunes or pieces throughout different cultures,” Kean said. “There is one American folk tune, Shady Grove, that is arranged in a different style from what we would normally hear. Most of the pieces are folk tunes from different cultures.”


As for Christmas concerts, Kean doesn’t have a full plan yet, but did state that she usually does a mix of some traditional and some non-traditional.


“It’s not all necessarily holiday,” Kean said. “It’s not all sacred, it’s not all from one religion if it is sacred.”


Cook said he has an old and new theme for Christmas.


“We’re taking an old movie, ‘Babes in Toyland,’ we’re doing March of the Toys,” Cook said. “We’re taking a new movie, which unfortunately isn’t as new as it once was is ‘Home Alone.’ The themes from ‘Home Alone.’ Then we’re going to do the ‘Sussex Mummer’s Christmas Carol,’ which dates from the late medieval English Sussex Christmas Celebration. Then we’re going to do the Leroy Anderson ‘Christmas Festival,’ which is a bunch of modern day Christmas tunes in a medley.”


Both Kean and Cook said that all the concerts are free and all ages are welcome, but donations are accepted. Kean also added that donations throughout the year will either go to music scholarships or local charities.


The music program has other events scheduled as well.


“We’re performing for the Daedalians on Nov. 15,” Kean said. “We’re both planning on taking our groups out to local high schools on Oct. 30.”


Cook also said there are plans for a guitar ensemble to play around campus, with current performances scheduled for Oct. 17 and Oct. 22. The location has not been determined.


“Our guitar ensemble will be playing around campus several times,” Cook said.

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