MCC Wind and Jazz Ensembles to Perform April 9 in Frauenthal Center

Frauenthal Center

The Muskegon Community College Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble will perform on Monday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the Frauenthal Center in downtown Muskegon.

Tickets are $7 for adults and $2 for students. Tickets available at the Star Tickets website:

Directed by Daniel M. Meyers, the Wind Ensemble will perform four selections. Following a brief intermission, the Jazz Ensemble, directed by Tim Froncek, will play three pieces.

In honor of the late Leonard Bernstein, an American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist whose 100th birthday would have been on August 25, the Wind Ensemble will open with two of his works – “America” and “Somewhere” – from the 1957 Broadway musical “West Side Story.” The show is set in in Manhattan in the 1950s and tells the tale of star crossed lovers Maria and Tony while focusing on the separation and tension between the Puerto Rican and white community at the time.

The Wind Ensemble will then perform “Loch Lomond” by Frank Ticheli. The song was inspired by the unsuccessful attempt in 1746 by an army of 7,000 Scottish Highlanders to depose Britain’s King George II. After the battle, many soldiers were imprisoned within England’s Carlisle Castle, near the border of Scotland. “Loch Lomond” tells the story of two captive Scots – one of them was to be executed, while the other was to be set free. According to Celtic legend, if someone dies in a foreign land, his spirit will travel to his homeland by “the low road” – the route for the souls of the dead. In the song, the spirit of the dead soldier shall arrive first, while the living soldier will take the “high road” over the mountains, to arrive afterwards.

The Wind Ensemble will close with “Children’s March” a jaunty and thoroughly delightful work by Percy Grainger, a piano prodigy turned composer who was known for his colorful prose and his equally unusual music.

The Jazz Ensemble opens with “Blue Monk,” one of the all-time great tunes by jazz legend Thelonious Monk, arranged by Michael Sweeney to preserve Monk’s unique rhythmic phrases and style.

The next selection will be “Low Rider” arranged by John Berry. Released in 1975 by the American funk band War, the song reached #1 on the Billboard R&B chart. According to the All Music Guide review, “the lyric takes the cool image of the low rider — the Chicano culture practice of hydraulically hot-rodding classic cars — and using innuendo, extends the image to a lifestyle.” The song’s most distinguishable feature is its driving bass line.

The Jazz Ensemble will close with “Nostalgia in Times Square,” an arrangement by Victor Lopez of the medium tempo blues song written by bassist Charles Mingus for the 1959 John Cassavetes film “Shadows.”