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USM Concert Band joins in worldwide celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday at 15th Annual Old-Fashioned Outdoor Band Concert

band concert

The USM Concert Band, conducted by Dr. Trae Blanco, presented its 15th annual Old-Fashioned Outdoor Band Concert and picnic on the green in front of Corthell Hall on October 7. 

The concert kicked off USM's participation in the two-year worldwide celebration of the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein, “Bernstein at 100!”,  which began with his 99th birthday on August 25 and will conclude at the end of his 100th year in 2019.

Trae Blanco

“My goal here was to connect our university and our programs to this international scene,” Blanco said. “We’re certainly going to push ourselves to play to the best of our ability.” To learn more about Dr. Trae Blanco, assistant professor of music and director of bands at USM, view this recent feature story and video interview.

The concert was centered around the music of Leonard Bernstein, including many of his favorites, as well as other standards in the band repertoire from great American touring bands like John Philip Sousa and Edward Franko Goldman. The program also included a Bernstein tribute featuring music from “West Side Story,” “On the Town” and “Candide.”

On the morning of the concert, USM faculty held an All State Bootcamp for Youth Musicians, offering master classes with USM faculty to help high school students prepare for their 2018 All-State instrumental auditions.

outdoor band concertOn November 5, the USM Concert Band will present “Lennie and John at 100,” a second concert in celebration of Bernstein, paying tribute also to the year-long celebration of John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday, which fell on May 29, 2017. The concert will feature soprano Mariana Mihai-Zoeter and SSG Chris Leslin, euphonium, of the West Point Band.

According to Bernstein biographer Humphrey Burton, “Bernstein saw Kennedy as a leader with outstanding intellectual gifts and a sympathy for the arts. Kennedy recognized Bernstein had something of his own inspirational qualities and speed at grasping issues, as well as a passion for promoting the arts.” Bernstein said of Kennedy, “of all the political men that I have ever met, [he] was certainly the most moving and compassionate and lovable.” The newly elected President selected Bernstein to compose and conduct a fanfare for Kennedy’s Inaugural Gala. Bernstein soon became a regular presence in the Kennedy White House. In turn, the President and his wife attended the opening night of "Candide." Bernstein kept a signed photograph of the President on his piano.

Trae BlancoLennie and John at 100
Sunday, November 5
2:00pm
McCormick Performing Arts Center
41 Morrill Ave., Gorham

Those needing special accommodations to participate fully in these programs, contact Lori Arsenault, (207) 780-5142, loria@maine.edu. Hearing impaired: call USM's telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646.

To learn more about the USM School of Music’s 2017-2018 events and programs, click here.