Seacoast Wind Ensemble Presents
“Serenade for World Peace – Best of the Band Concerts 1905-07”
First Annual Portsmouth Peace Treaty Anniversary Concert
Portsmouth NH (June 1, 2007) – Thanks to intensive historical research in period newspapers, local library collections and musical archives throughout the country, Seacoast Wind Ensemble conductor Richard C. Spicer has assembled a collection of band music performed in Portsmouth in 1905 during the negotiations to end “World War Zero,” the Russo-Japanese War. The concerts by local town bands and military bands brought to Portsmouth for the occasion helped create the atmosphere for peace that resulted in the Treaty of Portsmouth signed on September 5, 1905, celebrated locally since then.
The Seacoast Wind Ensemble and the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Anniversary Committee present “Serenade for World Peace” a concert of rarely-heard band music of 1905-07 related to the Portsmouth Peace Treaty and anniversary celebrations on June 24th at 3 pm at The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut Street in Portsmouth. Tickets are $15 ($8 for seniors over 65, children under 12, students with ID) and are available at The Music Hall box office, by phone 603-436-2400 and online at www.themusichall.org
Additional Portsmouth Peace Treaty Anniversary events this summer include a performance of “The Peace of Portsmouth” by Pontine Theatre on August 26 at 2 pm. A Peace Flag Raising ceremony at Green Acre Baha’i School in Eliot ME on September 2 at 2 pm, the annual Treaty Signing Commemoration at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard at 3:47 pm on September 5th followed by bell-ringing throughout the city, a Portsmouth Peace Treaty/Labor Day parade later in September and the Theodore Roosevelt Nobel Peace Prize Commemoration on December 10th. The Portsmouth Peace Treaty exhibit runs from May 26 through October 31 at the John Paul Jones House Museum and the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail is available for self-guided and Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce guided tours, year round. For more information: www.portsmouthpeacetreaty.com
Mr. Spicer began his research during the Treaty centennial in 2005, in order to make the music associated with the Treaty available again for performance. Various kinds of music were performed in 1905-07 including pieces related to the war, the Treaty, the commemoration of peace and celebrating the crucial role of Theodore Roosevelt, who became the first American President to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts. Several programs featured this music at 100th Anniversary events, including Portsmouth Peace Treaty Concerts, re-enactments, and the State Dinner on September 5th, where Mr. Spicer accompanied noted singers in dramatic vocal selections. But it was not until he was chosen in 2006 to direct the Seacoast’s own popular Seacoast Wind Ensemble that the opportunity arose to focus more on music from military band concerts and other entertainments during the summer of 1905 as well as local town band and Treaty anniversary concerts in 1907. Now the Seacoast Wind Ensemble, with the support of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Anniversary Committee, will make performances of the historical band music an annual part of the Treaty commemorations.
“We are bringing back to life the best selections from the band concerts heard during those years,” said Spicer. “People should not think for a minute that this is ‘historical music’ retrieved from a cabinet of curiosities and dusted off only for those with academic and esoteric interests. This is a stirring program that everyone can enjoy, featuring popular favorites of the day, from familiar marches by John Philip Sousa to medleys from the latest theatrical productions, played by the Portsmouth City Band in 1905. In addition, we are including songs and marches written by composers around the country to celebrate the historic event that happened here and the role of President Roosevelt as ‘Peacemaker’; these were all scored for bands, and celebrate peace achieved, which has relevance in every age. We are also excited to be using scores from the Exeter Town Band Library—a local treasure trove of historic band music from the oldest continuing town band in this state, going back to 1847."
About The Seacoast Wind Ensemble (www.seacoastwindensemble.org)
Founded in 1984, the Seacoast Wind Ensemble is a 50-piece, all-volunteer community concert band dedicated to providing excellence in music performance and education in the tradition of the great American bands of the Sousa years (ca. 1880-1930). Members range from qualified students to adults of all ages and, all together, compose a wonderful set of talented musicians from all walks of life. Programs throughout the year incorporate a wide and varied repertoire ranging from stirring marches to classics of the concert band repertoire, band arrangements of symphonic favorites, innovative pieces by contemporary composers, Broadway and jazz medleys, and the latest and liveliest popular selections. As one of the region’s premier concert bands, the ensemble is known as well for the celebration of Seacoast history and culture from the region it represents along the New England shore—from Boston, Massachusetts, up to Portland, Maine. Typically, the Seacoast Wind Ensemble offers holiday concerts in December, participates in local Music In Our Schools programs in March, features a major concert in late spring, and plays throughout the summer for many towns and festivals.
About Director Richard C. Spicer
A resident of Portsmouth, Mr. Spicer is an accomplished music director, performer, and historian, with special interest in American musical culture. As a band conductor, he has worked with the Boston University Concert Band, and in the New Hampshire capital, he formerly directed historic Nevers’ Second Regiment Band, founded in 1879. As a church music director, he currently serves St. George’s Episcopal Church of Durham, and he is an occasional organ recitalist as well; his most recent program featured the historic Brattle organ at St. John’s Church of Portsmouth. Since 1999, Mr. Spicer has organized several local concerts featuring Seacoast music history and collaborating with groups including the Pontine Theater, Sandpipers Chorus, and Historic New England. He also is director of and harpsichordist for Columbia’s Musick, a period-instrument and vocal chamber ensemble that brings to life music once heard in colonial, Revolutionary, and Federal America. Serving as Ensemble-in-Residence at historic King’s Chapel in downtown Boston, Columbia’s Musick also has appeared widely at venues ranging from the Academy of Ancient Music in Mississippi to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1995-97, Mr. Spicer served as curator of a major New Hampshire Historical Society exhibit on the nineteenth-century development of state town bands and instruments. He has published on this and other topics, including music in the Revolution, songs for public celebration in Federal Portsmouth, and Civil War bands. Mr. Spicer also served as a classical music radio announcer on New Hampshire Public Radio.