TERAJI: Symphony alive with the sound of music

Don Londgren plays trombone with the Morgan Hill Wind Symphony

After watching the Morgan Hill Wind Symphony’s affect on its
audience, one concertgoer offered a suggestion.
“The Morgan Hill Wind Symphony melds harmonization, counterpoint, joy, and history combined into a veritable feast.”

~ Mr. Allen, local music teacher and composer

After watching the Morgan Hill Wind Symphony’s affect on its audience, one concertgoer offered a suggestion.

“My son was dozing off before he came, but now he’s awake. The headline for the concert could read, ‘Classical music wakes youth up,’ ” said the audience member.

I attended the free May 15 concert given by the Morgan Hill Wind Symphony because Don Londgren, one of two trombone players with the group, kept persistently inviting me. The guy would just not give up.

For Londgren, music is more than just an interesting pastime or hobby. He found music to be therapeutic at a time in his life when he had been experiencing many weeks of severe back pain. Playing with the symphony helped ease the stress and contributed to some of his first pain-free moments.

“I feel like getting up and dancing down the aisle,” said Edna Holcomb of Gilroy during the performance of Golliwogg’s Cakewalk by Claude Debussy. It was one of the first pieces by Debussy in which ragtime characteristics of a marchlike beat with dotted rhythms and accents appeared.

“It makes me want to take up a musical instrument,” 17-year-old Justin Cho of Gilroy High School said.

The 21 dedicated musicians of the nonprofit MHWS are led by handsome and dynamic conductor Vernon Miyata, a graduate of Live Oak High School and San Jose State University. He is also the instrumental music director at Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo. He commutes to Morgan Hill each Wednesday to lead rehearsals.

The program also included works by Carl Maria von Weber – Invitation to the Dance; Leroy Anderson – The Irish Suite; Emmanuel Chabrier – Habanera; and Jacques Offenbach – Ballet Parisien. The Irish Suite is one of the most enduring and endearing 20th century American classical pieces. Drawn from familiar Irish folk tunes, its six movements present a rich musical palette brimming with color and fresh invention.

“I sing barbershop,” said Stanley Giles, an older gentleman who drove all the way over from Hollister and sat in the front row with his wife to take in the music to its fullest. When the symphony finished, he was immediately on his feet in a standing ovation next to his wife’s wheelchair, both of them beaming with joy.

“I played the tuba when I was young in the Pipestone Public High School of Minnesota, he said, “So I have always had an appreciation for this music.”

“I just get lost in it,” his wife Janet said dreamily.

“This has got some body to it, so I have to sit back there,” said Brian Lindberg of Hollister, pointing to one of the last rows.

Each musician volunteers their talents for the love of music, seeking to enhance the level of musical art in the South Bay community. The MHWS provides an opportunity for community involvement as a group and as individuals and fosters the importance of music in one’s life.

The MHWS is under the umbrella of the Morgan Hill Community Foundation, which seeks to enrich the greater Morgan Hill area.

For more information, go to www.mhws.org

Leave your comments