Joe Miller, founder and bandleader of the Lakewood Ranch Wind Ensemble, was asked to choose his favorite Thanksgiving song.
The question was about since the band is playing a Thanksgiving concert at 2 p.m. on Nov. 27 at the Presbyterian Peace Church in Lakewood Ranch.
“I’ve never been asked that question,” Miller said. “I try to think back to my high school days, but I can’t really think of anything. I’d be hard pressed to think of a piece of music that would involve Thanksgiving.
“I’m sure I’ve done concerts in November, but I just think we call it a Thanksgiving concert because it’s November.”
Granted, Thanksgiving doesn’t have those familiar holiday norms like Christmas and Independence Day do.
Even so, Miller said the concert would be a great opportunity for families to do something special together over the holiday season.
Admission is $10 and tickets can be purchased at the door.
Miller said he used a similar model for Lakewood Ranch Wind Ensemble concerts. It begins with a “circus march”, which is a piece intended to stir the audience and excite them from the start. Miller also laughed and issued an encore.
“We are in circus country,” he said.
This piece is “Ponderoso March”.
He then programs a “transcription” or a piece rewritten for an orchestra in order to adapt to the instrumentation of the group. The group will perform the Overture Il Guarany. Composed by Antônio Carlos Gomes, Il Guarany was the first Brazilian opera to be popular around the world.
“There was a band a long time ago, The Cities Service Band of America, with Paul Lavalle playing all over the country and they were playing Il Guarany (in the 1950s),” Miller said. “I was 10 years old in 1952. We had a square refrigerator and we had an AM radio on it. At 9:30 a.m. on a Monday night, I was standing in a chair and listening to a half-hour concert. This one These are numbers I memorized. I was playing the cornet (at the time).”
The concert continues with selections such as Ye Banks and Braes O’Bonnie Doon, Bonelli Symphonic Concert March, Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, a Festival Prelude, The Fairest of the Fair and The Sound of Music (arranged by R. Russell Bennett).
Miller said Il Guarnay and Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann are two stimulating pieces that his musicians will love to play.
The concert represents the Lakewood Ranch Wind Ensemble’s first concert of its 2022-23 season.
“Honestly, I don’t know my audience yet,” Miller said. “It will be our first full season and we haven’t had a chance to grow our following. But I know if you don’t find someone whistling your tune on the way out, you’ve failed.”
The room can accommodate up to 300 people.
“I hope people will take a chance and listen to a good band,” Miller said. “You will not be disappointed.”
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