Cape Cod Conservatory Band Celebrates “Americana” on Sunday, May 19

Cape Cod Conservatory Band, John Hagon, Conductor

The Cape Cod Conservatory Concert Band, directed by John P. Hagon, celebrates the music of American composers with a concert Sunday, May 19, from 3 to 4:50 PM, at Falmouth High School auditorium, 874 Gifford Street in Falmouth.

The event is free, but a $5 donation is suggested. No tickets or reservations are required.

The concert, aptly named “Americana,” is well timed for Memorial Day, featuring patriotic tributes, Broadway numbers, and a sprinkling of the new and unexpected. All the pieces were written in the 20th or 21st century.

One of the works is particularly special for conductor Hagon. “Scenes from a Battlefield” was originally written by his son, Sean Hagon, in honor of his father’s retirement from the 215th Army Band of Massachusetts National Guard. John orchestrated Sean’s original score for concert band, so it is a true father-son collaboration. The music is reminiscent of a film score, with a lovely and haunting section following the battle. Sean studied film music at Berklee College of Music.

John is the retired chair of music education at Berklee College of Music. He also conducts the Cape Cod Community Orchestra.

“Fantasy on a Mountain Song” was written recently by composer William Himes. It is a rhythmic journey through some familiar American folk tunes, building to a quick-moving and rousing finale.

“Three Etchings” is a jazz-infused and lyrical piece by Sammy Nestico, the longtime composer and arranger for the Count Basie band. Early in his career, Nestico was a member of the US Air Force Band and the leader of Airmen of Note.

To honor the men and women who have served or are serving in the military, the band will play “Armed Forces Salute.” Veterans and family members of present and retired military service men and women will be asked to stand when they hear their service song.

There are some other great pieces on the program: “American Patrol,” “Selections from Ragtime,” and “Symphonic Dances from Fiddler on the Roof,” but Hagon is saving one of his favorites for last.

“I’ve conducted Carmen Dragon’s arrangement of “America the Beautiful” with many bands, and on many tours abroad with the 215th Army Band,” he said. “It’s a beautiful tribute to our country, and one of my favorite pieces for the concert band. We’ll play it Sunday if we get called back for an encore.”

It sounds like a great concert—and, if you go, I think it might be a good idea to clap long and hard–to call John Hagon and the Cape Cod Conservatory Band back for that encore!

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