Concert to showcase local composers

Mar 11, 2019

When the Tri-County Symphonic Band presents its spring concert celebrating Buzzards Bay on March 24 at Tabor Academy, two local composers will add color to the band’s repertoire.

The band will premiere “Sunrise Paints the Bay,” by Rochester arranger and composer, John Wallace.

A frequent contributor to the Tri-County Symphonic Band, Wallace has made his home in Rochester for the past ten years.

Wallace is a polymath, working in several fields in addition to writing both modern classical and jazz for various ensembles. His interest in arranging and composing started when he served in the United States Air Force Band of the West for four years and didn’t stop when he left the service.

In addition to music, Wallace was a psychology professor at Stanford University and the University of California. Fully tenured, he decided after 12 years of teaching to leave academics and devote himself to clinical work in mental health. Moving to New York, he provided clinical services for four years in Harlem and then served as the Director of Alcoholism Treatment for the State of New York.

After founding treatment programs and writing major reports on alcohol and health to the United States Congress, he moved to Newport where he served as the director of treatment of the nationally acclaimed treatment center Edgehill Newport for twelve years. When managed care insurance practices closed Edgehill Newport, he returned to New York where he served as a director at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York.

He and his wife moved to Rochester when he retired from St. Vincent’s in 2010. Among his many awards are a knighthood presented by the President of Iceland and the annual award from the National Association of Alcoholism and Addiction Treatment Programs for work that advanced treatment in the field.

He has also published numerous short stories, a novel and nonfiction articles. “Sunrise Paints the Bay” begins on a calm and peaceful summer morning and progresses to a dramatic climax as the sun reaches its zenith at high noon.

The Band commissioned Michael Donovan of Cape Cod to write a suite called “Postcards from Buzzards Bay.” The composition is the keystone and titular piece of the concert. This world premiere by Donovan consists of musical metaphors that depict six scenes in and around Buzzards Bay: views from Cuttyhunk, the dangerous shoals of the Elizabeth Islands, a regatta in Marion, a sudden squall off the coast of Dartmouth, the departure of the fishing fleet from New Bedford and sunset at Woods Hole.

A thirty year veteran of the United States Air Force music programs, Major Donovan (retired) was the commander of the 567th Air Force Band from 1992 to 2002. Donovan studied composition as well as other aspects of music at the Berklee School of Music, Boston College and the New England Conservatory. In addition to composing, Donovan is an active jazz trumpeter.

Donovan has written for concert band, orchestra, chorale groups, chamber music and jazz ensembles of all sizes. He is retired from the Saugus Public Schools where he served as Director of Fine Arts. Donovan is the Composer in Residence for the Cape Cod Concert Band, where he plays French horn and trumpet.

While the Tabor Academy concert will start at 3 p.m., plan to come earlier and view the beautiful art works that celebrate Buzzards Bay that are provided by Marion Art Center artists and to learn about the programs by the Buzzards Bay Coalition and the Community Boating Center of New Bedford.