Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Review: Tasty High-Level Band Music, and Dessert, Served in De Pere

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St. Norbert Community Band Music for Dancing program cover_1542112677789.jpg.jpg

In a program ranging from a revered American wonder to an exotic smorgasbord, the St. Norbert Community Band performed Monday night in Walter Theatre of Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts at St. Norbert College.

As is tradition, the evening included a stop in the concert for door-prize giveaways and, afterwards, the offering in the lobby of a long table full of dessert fare for all.

This is a friendly, inviting, volunteer group.

Players play “just because we love to play – that’s pretty much it,” flutist Lynn Liddle-Drewiske told the audience during the door-prize section.

Read through the list of players below, and occupations indicate many are wholly involved in music. These concerts are a chance to really dig into selections of substance and be part of an effort by like-minded, skilled individuals from Northeastern Wisconsin. Quality factors in.

The players know how to play, so the listening is rewarding.

***

Program

“Music for Dancing”

“Fantasia in G,” Timothy Mahr

“Molly on the Shore,” Percy Grainger

“Armenian Dances, Part I,” Alfred Reed

   “Apricot Tree”

   “The Partridge Song”

   “Hoy, My Nazan”

   “Alagyaz”

   “Gna, Gna”

“Symphonic Dances from ‘West Side Story’,” Leonard Bernstein, arranged by Paul Lavender

   “Prologue”

   “Somewhere”

   “Scherzo”

   “Mambo”

   “Cha-cha”

   “Meeting Scene”

   “Cool Fugue”

   “Rumble”

   “Finale”

***

The title of the opening work, “Fantasia in G,” hides the fact that the piece is variations on the alluring “Ode to Joy” by Ludwig van Beethoven. Players with solo parts were “on,” as were conductor Philip Klickman and the band.

Percy Grainger’s “Molly on the Shore” gets into a festive, jolly, bouncy atmosphere of Irish tunes.

An Alfred Reed adaptation surrounding “Armenian Dances, Part 1” is akin to visiting an Armenian restaurant. The dishes on the menu – the spices, the tastes, the textures – are tantalizingly different from everyday American.

The featured, most challenging piece on the program embraces the sounds of “West Side Story.” Arranger Paul Lavender masterfully massages the vision of Leonard Bernstein’s music. In a large soundscape, the story is essentially played out – tension, tenderness, frenetic violence and the final, melancholy release of “Somewhere.” Along the way are unison finger snaps and calls of “mambo!” The players and Klickman answered the test well and surely.

***

The name St. Norbert Community Band has a definition not immediately apparent.

It’s not St. Norbert College Community Band.

Or St.NorbertCommunityBand.

It’s St. Norbert Community… Band.

Musicians in the community of St. Norbert College who play in the St. Norbert Community Band can be students, faculty, alumni or guests. The “Community” is large, yet limited.

The person who runs the show is traditionally the Wind Ensemble and Concert Band director at St. Norbert College. From the outside, the role seems to be a perk – leading lots of lifelong players who know their stuff, with some who have come from leading bands to play in one.

It’s an interesting group that puts on interesting concerts.

***

Players

Director – Philip Klickman

Flute – Lynn Liddle-Drewiske, De Pere, music teacher; Danielle Scherer, Green Bay, band director; Mary Tesch, Seymour, travel agent; Shelby VanRossum, Freedom, medical student; Ashley Zipperer, Green Bay, music educator; Sue Zipperer, Green Bay, band director

Oboe – Kimberly Hawkinson, Appleton, credit analyst; Janet Stevens, Suamico, private music teacher

English horn – Joanna Kamps, Pickett

Bassoon – Barb Wagner, Appleton, reharpoonista (that’s what the program says)

Clarinet – Sandy Bader, Green Bay, retired; Lisa Boldt, De Pere, senior billing analyst; Timberly Kazmarek Marbes, Ashwaubenon, clarinetist and photographer; Michelle Kuchta, Green Bay, band director; David Rassmussen, Green Bay, CNA; Bryant Scherer, Green Bay, teacher; Barbara Van De Laarschot, Green Bay, provider claim resolution specialist

Alto clarinet – Tracey Klickman, De Pere

Bass clarinet – Don Kolczak, Luxemburg, vice president-finance/CFO

Alto saxophone – Jay Allen, Ashwaubenon, application developer; Taylor Jadin, Pulaski, St. Norbert College learning technologies specialist

Tenor saxophone – Mark Wells, Allouez, owner-Pack and Ship

Baritone saxophone – Broderick Lemke, Neenah, multimedia developer and student

Trumpet – Nick Carncross, Green Bay; Steve DeVillers, New Franken, sales manager; David Ehren, Luxemberg, retired band director; Daniel M. Marbes, De Pere, IT director; Greg Sauve, Ashwaubenon, retired band director; Catherine Wavrunek, Green Bay, middle school science teacher

Horn – Bill Klumb, Green Bay, paratransit driver; Bianca Kue, Two Rivers, music educator; Tom Mueller, Forestville, retired band director; Lisa Niermann; Christie Nimmer, Green Bay, music educator; Andrew Parks, De Pere, music engraver

Trombone – Steven Bader, Green Bay, retired band director; Megan Kaye, De Pere, therapist; Emmy Mayer, De Pere, De Pere schools administrator; Geoff Stenson, Ashwaubenon, music educator

Bass trombone – Eric High, Ashwaubenon, St. Norbert College music professor

Euphonium – Caitlin Deuchert, Appleton, software developer; Joe Seroogy, De Pere, confectioner; Andy Zipperer, Suamico, music educator

Tuba – Andy Caldie, Allouez, St. Norbert College advancement staff; Steve Wilda, Green Bay, insurance company trainer

String bass – Mara Scherer

Percussion – Linda Cook, De Pere, retired St. Norbert College music professor; Tim Johnson, Howard, band director; Bryanna Moody, Appleton, band director; Kelsey Reed, Ashwaubenon, music teacher

Piano – Michael Rosewall, St. Norbert College music professor

***

THE VENUE: The 725-seat Byron L. Walter Theatre features a proscenium stage (flat front). Its walls are textured concrete blocks laid in a wave pattern. The ceiling includes white acoustical clouds. Seat material and carpeting are the traditional theater red. The theater is located in Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts at St. Norbert College in De Pere. It is the larger of two theaters in the building, the core of which was built in 1955. In 1989, the Walter Theatre was renovated to improve the lobby and interior aesthetic, adding seating and improving the acoustics.

THE PERSON: Byron L. Walter (1877-1954) was a businessman. He operated Green Bay Hardware, Inc. until his retirement in 1953. Walter was co-founder of Paper Converting Machine Co. and for a time served as president. After his death, the Byron L. Walter Family Trust was established, and it made possible the theater. The trust continues to make widespread contributions to community projects and institutions.

Contact me at warren.gerds@wearegreenbay.com. Watch for my on-air Critic at Large editions on WFRV-TV at 6:20 a.m. Sundays. My latest book, “I Fell Out of a Tree in Fresno (and other writing adventures),” is available in Green Bay at Neville Public Museum and Bosse’s.

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