A Collection of Classics

Sunday, March 10 * 3:30 p.m.
Goddard Auditorium, Earlham College
Richmond, IN

Waltz from Sleeping Beauty * Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Joyeuse March * Emmanuel Chabrier
Scherzo from Symphony #4 * Anton Bruckner
Pavane, Op. 50 * Gabriel Faure
The Depot * Jay Conard
Russian Easter Overture * Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Finale from Pines of Rome * Ottorino Respighi

Waltz from Sleeping Beauty * Pyotr Tchaikovsky, 1840-1893
Sleeping Beauty was written in 1889 between two other famous ballets, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. The complete ballet is nearly four hours long. This waltz is in the first act as the villagers celebrate the 16th birthday of Princess Aurora. Many of you will recognize it from the Walt Disney movie.

Joyeuse March * Emmanuel Chabrier, 1841-1894
Arr. David Stone
Written in 1884, this piece started as a work for piano. Chabrier studied law at his parents’ insistence and was a civil servant in Paris until he finally became a full-time musician and composer at age 39. He died relatively young at the age of 53. With its many rhythmic starts and stops, this joyful piece was once described as an inebriated band stumbling down the street.

Scherzo from Symphony #4 * Anton Bruckner, 1824-1896
Bruckner was a composer and teacher in Austria during the late Romantic period. He wrote many symphonies and sacred music and was known for his use of low brass and the length of his symphonies. This scherzo (third movement) comes from his Symphony #4, which he referred to as the “Romantic.” With all the brass currently in the RCO, this is a great chance for them to shine. It has a hunting horn motif with a melodic trio in the middle that represents the lunch break during the hunt.

Pavane, Op. 50 * Gabriel Faure, 1845-1924
A pavane is a 16th-century Spanish court dance. Written in 1887, this beautiful, haunting melody was dedicated to Faure’s patron, Elisabeth, Comtesse Greffulhe. His original concept was of the men standing on one side talking about the women and the women standing on the other side talking about the men (something like a junior high dance). When they do finally start dancing, they end up stepping on each others’ toes and yelling at each other; you’ll hear the music change from the peaceful melody to a big, full sound. This would all sound very absurd except for the fact that it is sung in French. Its first performance was just the orchestral parts as you hear today, and the second used singers. Faure’s concept was to use dancers as well, which were incorporated into the third performance. Rarely will you find a recording with voices, however.

The Depot * Jay Conard, 1958-
This is a musical tour of the Richmond Depot around 1919. After the sunrise, we hear a family “Heading for the Depot” (perhaps in their new automobile) to see their brother off on the morning train. Once “Inside the Depot,” we dodge baggage carts and passengers coming and going until we see an incoming train approach the platform. There we spot the outgoing engine as “The Train Starts.” We hear the pinging of its metal skin as the steam heat inside expands the metal. We hear some machinery screech and the steam whistle toot (flutes) as pressure builds for the “Train Heading Out.” The wheels turn faster and faster as the train leaves the station, and as it moves farther away, we hear the steady clacking on the tracks until it disappears. As we look around, we notice a soldier saying “Farewell” to his sweetheart as they plan for the future when he returns. Our attention shifts to the sound of the “Arrival” of another train, this one carrying father after a week-long trip. When the train stops with a giant hiss of escaping steam, we see people step off the train as we “Welcome Home” father. All that’s left now is for our “Heading Home.”

Russian Easter Overture * Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, 1844-1908
Arr. Sandra Dackow
First performed in 1888, this concert overture uses many chants and tunes that would be familiar to those in the Orthodox Church. It opens with a simple chant melody in the upper woodwinds followed by a cadenza in the solo violin. Soon the excitement and pageantry of this important feast takes over with fast-moving melodies and lots of brass. Later on, the trombone takes on the role of a chanting monk as if reminding the listener of the solemn day.  Soon the quick tempo returns and builds to a big finish with a time signature of 2/1–meaning two beats in each measure with the whole note getting one count.

Finale from Pines of Rome * Ottorino Respighi, 1879-1936
Arr. Stephen Bulla
The Pines of Rome is the title of a four-movement tone poem about the iconic pine trees that grow around the capital of Italy. We are playing the final movement, called “The Pines of the Appian Way.” While the other movements describe sites still known in Respighi’s day, the finale depicts the ancient Roman legions marching triumphantly home along this famous highway, built in 312 B.C. We hear the tramping of the soldiers along this road that connects Brindisi (in the heel of the Italian boot) on the Adriatic Sea to the Eternal City. You faintly hear the approaching legions at the beginning with the exotic sounds of eastern lands, played on the English horn. Soon the French horns announce the approach of the marching legions carrying their spoils of conquest.


Holiday Concert 2023

Join the RCO as we are hosted by
Centerville high school!

Sunday, December 3 * 3:30 p.m.
507 Willow Grove Road, Centerville, IN

Selections from The Nutcracker – Pyotr Tchaikovsky
March * Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy * Waltz of the Flowers
Music from Ben-Hur – Miklos Rozsa
Nativity Scene * Overture
A Christmas Treat – Robert Bowden
Stille Nacht – arr. Chip Davis
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Hugh Martin/Ralph Blane
Sleigh Ride – Frederick Delius
March of the Toys from Babes in Toyland – Victor Herbert
Winter Wonderland – Irving Berlin
A Christmas Festival – Leroy Anderson


Nutcracker Suite – Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Edited by Clark McAlister and Merle Isaac
This classic ballet was first performed in 1892.  Today we present three pieces from this perennial holiday favorite: 
1. “March”
2. “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”
3. “Waltz of the Flowers”

Music from Ben-Hur – Miklos Rozsa (1907-1995)
The novel Ben-Hur was written by Civil War General Lew Wallace, who was born in Brookville, Indiana, and died in Crawfordsville, Indiana, after a long career as a lawyer, solider, and diplomat.
1. “Nativity Scene” – This music accompanies the opening scene of the 1959 movie. You can see the video at   
2. “Overture” – The overture follows the nativity scene. You hear much of the pomp and grandeur of the ancient Roman Empire (minus the chariot race).

A Christmas Treat – Robert C. Bowden
This medley of seven Christmas favorites sounds deceptively easy, but I assure you it takes many accomplished musicians to pull this off! Bowden was the conductor and chief arranger for the Mormon Youth Symphony and Choir from 1974-99. This medley includes “Up On the Housetop”; “Jolly Old St. Nicholas”; “I Saw Three Ships”; “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”; “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”; “O Holy Night”; and “Jingle Bells.”

Stille Nacht Franz Gruber (1787-1863)
Arranged by Chip Davis (1947- ) and Calvin Custer
Silent Night” was written in 1818 and has been a part of our Christmas celebrations ever since. This ethereal arrangement is based on the recording Davis did with Mannheim Steamroller, the group he founded in 1974 to mix classical and new age techniques. This piece concludes the first Mannheim Steamroller Christmas album, released in 1984. 

Have Yourself a Merry Little ChristmasHugh Martin and Ralph Blane
Arranged by John Whitney
Written for the 1944 movie Meet Me in St. Louis and first performed by Judy Garland, this song (along with “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”) are consistently in the top 10 most popular Christmas songs each year.

Sleigh Ride – Frederick Delius (1862-1934)
Written as one of Three Small Tone Poems in 1890, this piece was originally entitled “Winter Night.”  Delius was born in England to German parents, ran an orange plantation in Florida, and eventually settled in France. This is not the Leroy Anderson version popularized by the Boston Pops; it has a completely different melody and a center section that sounds like a short visit to a neighbor before returning home.

March of the Toys from Babes in Toyland – Victor Herbert (1859-1924)
Herbert was an American composer primarily known for operettas and other light music even though he also wrote many serious works. He was also a leading figure in securing the rights of composers to their music through the establishment of copyright laws. Babes in Toyland was first produced in 1903 in Chicago. After a successful run of 192 performances in New York, the show ran for many years across the country with  multiple touring companies.

White Christmas – Irving Berlin (1888-1989)
Arranged by Robert Russell Bennett (1894-1981)
This was first performed by Bing Crosby in the 1942 movie Holiday Inn. Crosby’s recording was the best-selling single in any music category for more than 50 years. The next year at the Academy Awards, Irving Berlin was the presenter for Best Song and had to award the Oscar to himself when this song won.

A Christmas Festival – Leroy Anderson (1908-1975)
This arrangement from 1952 contains some of the most traditional Christmas pieces, even a quodlibet of “Adeste Fideles” with “Jingle Bells.”

News Previous Performances

Evening Concert in the Park

The RCO concludes its 2022-23 season
with a concert at Glen Miller Park
on Monday, June 12, at 7:00 p.m.


Bring a chair, bring the kids, bring the dog and join us for an evening of popular music and light classics! Enjoy a Sousa march, swing era favorites, a good mix of James Bond, a dose of Americana, and more. Find the program list and notes by RCO music director Jay Conard below.

Caravan by Juan Tizol (1900 -1984) and Duke Ellington (1899-1974)
First performed by Duke Ellington in 1937, this is one of the great standards of jazz literature. Tizol was a trombonist, which explains the solo use of that instrument in many arrangements of this work. This is considered the first number to evoke exotic harmonies and melodies in a popular work.

El Capitan March by John Philip Sousa (1854–1932)
While primarily known for his military marches, Sousa aspired to write “serious” music—in particular, operettas. His most successful theatre work was the operetta El Capitan, first produced in 1896. One famous fan of the work was Admiral George Dewey, famous for his victory at Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War. As he sailed into Manila Bay, he had the ship’s band play the “El Capitan” march to prepare his men for battle. In a victory parade after the war, Sousa himself led this rousing march.

James Bond Medley   Arr. by Victor Lopez
Ian Fleming’s character of James Bond was created in 1953 and appeared in 12 of his novels. Since Fleming’s death in 1964, seven other authors have continued Bond’s adventures. Bond on film began in 1962, and there have been 23 movie versions to date, making the Bond series the longest continuing film series based on the same character. This medley contains “The James Bond Theme” and—from movies of the same names—”For Your Eyes Only,” “Goldfinger,” “Live and Let Die,” and “Nobody Does it Better.”

Begin the Beguine by Cole Porter (1891-1964); arr. by Artie Shaw (1910-2004) and transcribed by Jay Conard
Cole Porter wrote this song while on a cruise in the South Pacific aboard a Cunard ocean liner (yes, Cunard is a relative of mine) in 1935. The tune was a great hit, and many big bands of the era played it, including that of bandleader and clarinetist Artie Shaw. The rhythms Shaw used are very unique and give it a jazzier sound than the exotic version Porter envisioned. Shaw first recorded the piece in July 1938 for RCO Victor as the B side of his first record. The Miller boys, Don and Bryan, will play the solo clarinet line.

Procession of the Sardar by Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (1859-1935)
Caucasian Sketches, Suite No. 1, Op. 10 (1894) consists of four “songs” or parts. The most famous is the final piece, “Procession of the Sardar,” an historical title for a feudal lord, military commander, leader, or dignitary in that region of central Asia.

Overture to Zampa by L. J. Ferdinand Herold (1791-1833)
Herold was born in Paris and wrote this opera in 1831, just two years before his death at age 42. The opera is about a young man who spends the family’s fortune, trifles with a young lady’s affection, then runs off and becomes a pirate. The plot is the usual mix of twist and coincidences with long-lost brothers and even a statue that comes to life and drags Zampa to the infernal regions.
First performed by the RCO in October 2013.

A Tribute to Henry Mancini  Arr. by Calvin Custer (1939-1998)
Henry Mancini (1924-1994) was busy in both the film world and television. He won 4 Oscars and 20 Grammys during his life, and his film music is some of the most tuneful ever written. This medley contains many famous tunes: “Baby Elephant Walk,” “Charade” from the movie of the same name, the “Pink Panther Theme,” “Days of Wine and Roses,” and the theme to Peter Gunn.

Dance of the Tumblers from The Snow Maiden by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908); arr. by Sandra Dackow
Before devoting his time to music, Rimsky-Korsakov was an officer in the Imperial Russian Navy. He actually sailed to the U.S. in 1862 during the Civil War, visiting NYC, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Among his several operas is The Snow Maiden, premiering in 1882. Act III has this energetic dance that depicts the skomorokhi street performers of Russia.

The American Frontier Arr. by Calvin Custer (1939-1998)
This medley of American tunes includes “The Girl I Left behind Me,” an old Irish tune used by the British and U.S. military, still played at West Point during final formations at graduation; “Chester,” a New England hymn tune by William Billings written around the time of the Revolutionary War; “Oh! Susanna” by Stephen Foster; “Shenandoah,” a tune used on sailing ships; and a stirring version of “America the Beautiful.”