Two concerts herald the start of summer in outer East Portland

Find out why the County Community Orchestra and the Portland Metro Concert Band continue to draw hundreds of music lovers to their respective concerts …

Stories and photos by David F. Ashton
In mid-June, outer East Portland concert-goers were offered two concerts, by two fine musical organizations, just two days apart.

Many of the audience members chose to attend both the fine concerts – both held at David Douglas High Schools Horner Performing Arts Center.

East County Community Orchestra

Members of the East County Community Orchestra’s trumpet section – Dennis Chapple, Warren Dillon, Evertt Dix, Ray Johnson, Al Olsen, Bill Patterson, and Neil Stoeing – are featured in a lively rendition of “Carnival“.

The East County Community Orchestra played their Spring/Summer Concert at 7:00 p.m. on June 12 to a large and receptive audience. Under the baton of Jack Mahoney, the group played a program of eleven numbers, ranging from popular standards to the classics.

They started off, as always, by playing the Star Spangled Banner. Then, they continued the program with a classical selection, Finlandia, by Jean Sibelius.

The Community Orchestra fills the hall with symphonic music.

Next up was a lively number, “Carnival” variations, featuring the orchestra’s trumpet section,

Members of the audience showed their appreciation for Broadway Showstoppers, Irish Tune from County Derry, and the finale for the first half – John Philip Sousa’s New Mexico March.

The group plays classical works and show tunes with equal skill.

The orchestra favored their fans with two classical selections to begin the second half of the program: A Little Summer Music by Antonio Vivaldi, and Suite from Tannhäuser by Richard Wagner.  They moved into lighter music with “A Tribute to Lerner and Loewe”, and finished up with the Light Cavalry Overture and The Minute Man March.

Jack Mahoney conducts the East County Community Orchestra.

Members of the orchestra, volunteer amateur and professional musicians from across the metro area, practice weekly under the baton of Jack Mahoney, the former instrumental music director at Centennial high school.

The orchestra plays six concerts a year, including the formal winter and spring concerts at David Douglas High School. The orchestra is a nonprofit organization, and welcomes donations to help defray their operating costs.

Portland Metro Concert Band

Volunteer Ruth Webber sets out delicious treats for guests to enjoy during intermission the Portland Metro Concert Band concert.

We returned to the David Douglas High School Horner Performing Arts Center two days later, on June 14, to catch the 3:00 p.m. concert by the Portland Metro Band. About 200 folks came to hear a program featuring 14 songs.

Marches – always a tradition with the band – included His Honor, American Eagle March, Bandology Concert March, and March of the Belgian Parachutists.

Jay Burchak conducts the Portland Metro Concert Band.

As is their tradition, the Metro Band’s program is shared between two conductors at the podium. Jay Burchak led the first half, and Jack Mahoney led the second portion of the program.

This performance was entitled “Flag Day Concert”, and featured musical memories from World War II – in a medley that included It’s Been a Long, Long Time; Thanks For the Memories; The White Cliffs of Dover; I’ll Be Seeing You; Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me); and Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.

This was followed by a melodic Gershwin medley of An American in Paris; Cuban Overture; and Rhapsody in Blue. The first half of the concert ended with a delightful arrangement of America the Beautiful.

A tradition at both these concerts is intermission refreshments, which volunteers supply. Tables are set out with all kinds of cookies and sweets and beverages.

The Portland Metro Concert Band plays patriotic favorites.

The second half of the program started off with a “Star-spangled Salute to the music of George M. Cohan” – a medley that included, Give My regards to Broadway; Harrigan; All in the Wearing; Over There; Yankee Doodle Boy; and, You’re a Grand Old Flag.

Next came the ever popular, toe-tapping Buglers Holiday, featured the brass artistry of Jay Burchak, Mike Clarizio, and Neil Stoering. This was followed by highlights from the musical “Evita” including: Buenos Aries; Flying High, Adored; You Must Love Me; and Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.

Next the band saluted the Armed Forces with a medley of The Caisson Song; Semper Paratus; The Marines Hymn; The US Air Force, and Anchors Away.

The program ended with highlights from the popular stage and screen musical, “The Music Man”.

At this concert, the Portland Metro Concert Band took time to recognize Fev Pratt, who, for over 16 years, from the inception of the band, was its director. They expressed their appreciation for the many hours that he contributed to the band, selecting music and conducting rehearsals and concerts. His quest for excellence, organizers said, helped the band developed from simple beginnings into a solid organization.

The Portland Metro Concert Band, organized in 1992, includes amateurs as well as musicians who play professionally. They rehearse weekly, 11 months of the year, and perform concerts at many venues each year.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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