Letter: Wind Ensemble concert a genuine treat
On Sunday afternoon Oct. 7, the Chesapeake Bay Wind Ensemble (CBWE) performed a concert at Mathews High School. Sadly, for every occupied seat there appeared to be six to eight empty. Several audience members suggested more advance publicity might have helped.
The concert was a hugely pleasant surprise. In a wind ensemble there are no strings (other than a harp and a string bass), but clarinets replace violins more than adequately. There was nothing condescending about the program, which included several (perish the word) "modern" pieces (i.e., music requiring an intellectual as well as an emotional response of the listener).
One star of the performance was WHRO’s Raymond Jones, who not only emceed the whole program but also served as narrator in the musical/spoken presentation of "Casey at the Bat." Jones appeared in a baseball uniform and swinging a bat. He coyly turned his back to the audience to display his uniform number: 90.3. The audience was delighted with his rendition of the poem to the musical accompaniment.
Another star was Mathews High School’s own music director, Wayne Fillingim, who was not only performing as a member of the CBWE, but who also guest-conducted "Broadway Showstoppers," a tour de force medley of hits from Broadway musicals. Other stars were the piccolo player, Deby Kidney, who handled the stirring and difficult solo in the middle of the encore, "Stars and Stripes Forever," with flawless aplomb, and bassoonist Tanner LaRoque (one of the five high school student members of the ensemble) whose handling of his difficult instrument promises bright career prospects.
Tickets were five dollars (though some patrons donated additional sums). The CBWE deserves highest applause and we fervently hope for its frequent return to Mathews.