The Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps (LGBAC) Symphonic Band spring concert, at Symphony Space on April 7, was billed as “The Roaring Music of Women: a Tribute to the Iconic Edie Windsor” and what a striking program it was! Judith Kasen-Windsor, who was late marriage equality icon Windsor’s wife, hosted the performance and reminded us that LGBAC, 115 musicians strong, is affectionately nicknamed “Edie’s Band,” as she presented a $10,000 check from Edie Windsor to the Corps. Most selections were led by Music Director Henco Espag and almost all were written by women.
The opening work was a proud and rousing “March of the Women,” by English suffragette Dame Ethel Smyth, the first women ever to have an opera performed by the Metropolitan Opera, “Der Wald” in 1903. The arrangement of the march was by Tara Fayazi and Espag and it was sung, by Thank You for Coming Out, with LGBAC members, and played, by LGBAC, with heart. Guest conductor Kimberly Roof paced Dr. Chen Yi’s upbeat “Spring Festival,” a joyful celebration of the Chinese New Year. Espag returned to the podium for J. Anderson’s edition of Richard Strauss’ youthful Horn Concerto Number One in E-flat Major, neo-Classical, ringing, then caressing and nocturne-like, then spirited again, thanks to young French horn soloist August Haller, winner of LGBACs High School Concerto Competition, and the Corps. We were treated to the world premiere of Gwen-Marie Lerch’s “Canción para Emilia” for percussion ensemble, and heard tinkling and tolling bells, bird calls, forceful drums, and what sounded like a wind machine. A rollicking “Nine to Five,” by Dolly Parton, arranged by Johny Ocean, followed.
Karen Street’s “Tango” for saxophone ensemble, proved as sultry and seductive as Carmen’s “Habanera.” Elena Roussanova Lucas’ earthy “Tatarian Dances” were “SabantuiSpring Dance,” full of the vernal season’s promise; “Sarman River,” fittingly flowing; “Harvest Dance,” bustling and suggestive of industriousness; and “Wedding Dance,” robustly romantic. Julie Giroux’s contemplative “One Life Beautiful” honored the memory of Edie Windsor and of LGBAC members who have left us. Kasen-Windsor announced that LGBAC’s annual Profile in Leadership Award, given to Edie Windsor in 2015, has been renamed the Edie Windsor Profile in Leadership Award and Espag presented this year’s to former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. LGBAC Assistant Conductor Royden Ringer wielded the baton for Carolyn Bremer’s “Early Light,” brimming with vitality and strength. Epag presided over Rika Ishige’s “Flying High,” the evening’s finale, buoyant and boisterous, and exuberant encore “Let’s Get Loud,” written by Gloria Estefan and Kike Santander (Flavio Enrique Santander Lora) and famously first recorded by Jennifer Lopez.
Look forward to the LGBAC symphonic band’s winter concert at Symphony Space on December 15. Visit www.lgbac.org
for further information.