Patriotism, pride, and percussion filled Powell Hall for the 2017 Joining Forces concert.
Musicians of the St. Louis Symphony, the 399th Army Band, and the United States Air Force Band of Mid-America joined forces to honor veterans and active duty military service members.
The musicians performed powerful pieces of music, including Lincoln Portrait and Stars and Stripes Forever
More than 2,000 people attended the free concert. Neil Cantwell, an Army veteran, attended the concert with a group of veterans.
“I was astounded by it,” Cantwell said. “They played this well.”
While the St. Louis Symphony has a history of working with both military bands, the concert marked the first joint performance at Powell Hall.
“It was quite an honor and amazing experience,” said USAF Band of Mid-America musician Quincy Garner. I think the audience appreciated the music, and I think if we had five more tunes they would’ve stayed for that.”
The concert’s conductors were Kevin McBeth of the St. Louis Symphony, Lt. Col. Michael Willen of the USAF Band of Mid-America, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Benjamin McMillan of the 399th ArmyBand, and Lt. Wilson Wiseof the USAF Band of Mid-America.
Last week I posted photos of the activities going on outside of the concert hall for the On Stage at Powell tango night, featuring Cortango Orquesta. This week, thanks to photographer Joe Schmidt, here are pictures of the show.
Musicians from that evening who are not pictured: Symphony flutist Andrea Kaplan and Cortango pianist Adam De Sorgo.
The final On Stage at Powell concert of the season was also a celebration of the Hispanic community in St. Louis. With Cortango Orquesta performing, pre-concert tango lessons in the foyer and tango dancers on stage, and a post-concert milonga in the foyer, Powell Hall attracted an international audience from Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico and other Latin American countries.
What if they gave an On Stage at Powell concert and the audience couldn’t fit on stage? That’s what happened Wednesday night when Brian Owens and company performed the music of Curtis Mayfield. The orchestra level of Powell Hall was full for a concert that usually offers performers and audience the opportunity to fit intimately together on stage. Where the Mayfield show may have expanded in scale it did not lose in intimacy. Owens, with members of the 442s, IN UNISON Scholars and Fellows on vocals and percussion, IN UNISON Church Partner musicians, YO cellist Julie Holzen and her Peer to Peer Initiative mentee cellist Tieryn Minor, and an outasight brass section had Powell Hall in a groove. People heard Owens channeling Mayfield on “Keep on Pushing,” “Super Fly,” “People Get Ready” and other hits from the ’60s and ’70s. “You don’t need no baggage/ You just get on board.”
On Wednesday night the On Stage at Powell community concert series gave it up for brass. The concert featured not only St. Louis Symphony brass musicians, but also members of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra brass section. The true extravaganza component of the evening was the addition of close to 50 amateur brass players who came ready to perform. Principal Horn Roger Kaza conducted a full stage of 80 brass players through music by Richard Strauss and W.C. Handy’s “Saint Louis Blues.” What became immediately obvious to those in the ensemble–who ranged in age from 11 to 80–and to those in the audience was that everybody had practiced–a lot.
Maureen Byrne, Director of Community Programs, managed a folder-full of logistics to make this event happen. In the end, the On Stage at Powell audience and a lot of brass players went home smiling. The Urban Chestnut beer at the post-show party in the foyer was a part of that too.
Thursday night is the first On Stage at Powell concert of the season. That’s where you get to sit on stage with the musicians, making for an especially intimate concert experience and an easy concert series to name.
A Symphony string quartet made up of violinists Ann Fink and Helen Kim, violist Chris Tantillo and cellist Bjorn Ranheim play works by Haydn and Samuel Adams. Since Adams is the living composer, and in town, we’re putting him to use. He’ll be on stage to talk about both the Haydn quartet and his own, giving insights into how they relate. Adam Crane will be on hand to interview Adams, and I’ll be bringing around the microphone so audience members can ask questions and share responses.
Thursday, September 24 at 7pm. It’s free. It’s On Stage at Powell.