Bloomfield Youth Band Presents “Song and Dance”
By: Jeff Frankel of Bloomfield Life

The Bloomfield Youth Band is giving you a song and dance.
Well not literally.

In its 24th Season, the Bloomfield Youth Band will present “Song and Dance,” a musical program that will have a little something for everyone, says Pat Burns, the founding director of the band.

“I like to come up with something interesting theme-wise in a concert,” Burns told Bloomfield Life. “Each of the pieces in the program is either based on a song or song-like melody or somewhat related to dance.”

The evening will feature an assortment of music, with four pieces serving as the highlight of the evening, Burns said. Upon hearing a new, original piece by Robert Sheldon called “Choreography” he knew he had to incorporate the song into the performance.

“It really has everything the concert has in the microcosm of one piece, he said.

A composition by Japanese composer Yo Goto entitled “Dancing in Air” adds a different color to the Youth Band’s performance, Burns said. An element of mystery in the beginning and middle section make the piece stand out.

“There’s one part of the piece where certain instruments play random notes. It gives the feeling of mystery,” he said. “Goto balances this against a really rhythmic dance section. It’s probably the most different piece on the program. The audience will really enjoy it.”

A song fitting for the season, “In Late November” by Randall Stanbridge will bring a more folksy sound to the evening.

“It’s just a beautiful lyric piece” he said. “It’s really beautiful and sentimental.”

A newer arrangement of a piece not usually heard in the band world, Jacques Odffenbach’s “Galop from Geneviveve de Brabant” will get your toes tapping, Burns said. The piece is based off of a popular melody, he said, but won’t say what it is. To find out what it is, come to the show, he said.

“It’s a really showy, difficult, fun piece,” he said. “I promise that there is an element of surprise but I won’t give it away now.”

In his second year as the Director of Bands for Bloomfield High School, Brendan Hughes will that the baton as the evening’s guest conductor for “Anthem of Winds and Percussion,” By Claude T. Smith. Hughes is a former member of the Bloomfield Youth Band.

“The youth band has had people graduate and go on with all sorts of musical careers,” Burns said. “Now he’s continuing working at Bloomfield High School, where he went, and he’s continuing his association with the youth band to conduct. It’s full circle.”

The Montclair State University Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Kunkel will also perform between sets.

I like to have another group come in and provide something else for our audience,” Burns said. “It also gives my students a chance to listen to something different.”

The concert will be held Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. at the Bloomfield Middle School, 60 Huck Road.

Sponsored by the Bloomfield Recreation Commission, the general admission is $8 and free for children 12 and younger. If the concert is cancelled because of inclement weather, the rain date is December 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Burns noted how the community has been so supportive of the youth band despite the economic times. The past three concerts have raised nearly $9 thousand for the band, which enables it to purchase new music and hire special guest conductors.

“It’s just extraordinary that a community can do this,” he said.

Even though the “character of the band” is different this year as many¬† players have graduated high school, Burns feels this concert band is as good as ever.

“I think this whole year is going to be wonderful,” he said. “I would encourage people everyone to come out. You can’t get this kind of entertainment for $8.”