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Heart of Texas Concert Band takes you to the movies

Mark Rogers, conductor.
Mark Rogers, conductor.

The Heart of Texas Concert band pays tribute to the music of John Williams on Sunday, March 5, 2022 at Jefferson High School auditorium with its program, "A Night at the Movies." TPR's Barry Brake spoke to conductor Mark Rogers on KPAC.

Barry Brake: Classical music from the movies... the Heart of Texas Concert Band is going to be providing that sound for you this weekend. It's called A Night at the Movies. And Mark Rogers from the Heart of Texas Concert Band is joining us right now to talk a little bit more about it. Hello, Mark.

Mark Rogers: Hello, how are you, Barry?

Yeah, I'm doing great. And I can't wait for this Sunday's concert. Sunday, March 5th, 3:00 in the afternoon over at Jefferson High School. Tell us all about it.

Well, for many years, we have done concerts that are themed but themed around movies, music or all Broadway music or something like this. And we decided we would do a movie music concert this year. And then gradually it dawned upon us, as it has upon many people, that John Williams, first of all, turned 90. There is no one who comes close to being as influential in American symphonic music for movies as him. So the more we looked at it, the more we realized that there was just an embarrassment of riches of things to be performed. One of the things that has made this so wonderful for us, John Williams has a connection with a number of the service bands. He started out writing for the Army Air Corps and then about the year 2003, the United States Marine Band recognized his affiliation with them by doing an all John Williams concert. And so for the Marine band, they prepared these solid gold arrangements of all of his music, and he guest conducted the performance. And so we now have these professional arrangements that cover all the bells and whistles that you would find in an elite concert band.

And a big Heart of Texas Concert Band sound. You guys always have a large crowd, I have noticed.

Oh, yeah.

You reach out to tons of people. All the information is at HeartofTexasConcertBand.org. What do we need to know for Sunday's show?

You'll hear "Harry Potter" and "Star Wars" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark." But there are so many scores that he has written, which are perhaps less well known, but they're equally wonderful. And just to give a little bit of contrast, we're also including the "Prayer for Peace" from the score that he wrote for the film "Munich." And there's a wonderful five or six minute excerpt from the film "Lincoln," and we need to perform some of those things so that everyone gets a chance to hear the other side of John Williams, because we know the "Superman" and the "Raiders of the Lost Ark," those kind of swashbuckling things. But the tender side of him is is equally gifted, equally wonderful. But we just don't hear those pieces as often.

Well, and anyone who has fallen in love with Princess Leia knows that he knows how to write a tender melody.

Oh, absolutely, just wonderful stuff! And one last thing, [we want to ] make sure everyone knows that the concert is free. We don't have tickets. Just come bring as many people as you like. We've got a big auditorium and we'd love to see it filled all the way to the ceiling.

A free concert. You can't beat that. Mark Rodgers, director of Heart of Texas Concert Band, thank you so much for joining me today.

You're most welcome.

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Barry Brake is a composer, jazz and classical pianist who has been a part of San Antonio's music scene for decades. You can find his musings and musical exploits online here: http://barrybrake.com/