“And what is so rare as a day in June? / Then, if ever, come perfect days…” When James Russell Lowell penned those words, he was unwittingly describing a certain early evening in the Sertoma Amphitheatre at Bond Park in Cary. There the Triangle Wind Ensemble took advantage of a rare combination of perfect temperature and humidity to serenade a goodly crowd of music lovers and good-weather celebrants with a round dozen of America’s favorite pieces.
Director Evan Feldman and the forty-or-so players were able to leap tall buildings with a single bound, opening as they did with the “Superman March” by John Williams. That same composer’s works constituted exactly half of the evening’s offerings. They continued with “Harry’s Wondrous World,” another Williams piece that Feldman contrasted to the opener as being neither movie-based nor heroic. “Catch Me If You Can” featured the solo work of saxophonist Aaron Payne. This seemingly “un-Williams” piece was at times quite reflective, calling for and receiving dexterity on the alto saxophone.
Williams was allowed a rest while the players launched into Edwin Franko Goldman’s upbeat “On The Mall,” a work involving vocal la-la-la refrains and whistling by players and audience members. The attendees whistled somewhat better than they sang. Mozart’s Overture to the Marriage of Figaro was a pleasing study of how arranger Earl Slocum was able to force-fit that eighteenth-century music onto modern wind instruments. In assaying the success of this effort, would the composer have pointed with pride or viewed with alarm?
Other “guest” composers featured were Wilhousky with his standard “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” Bob Lowden’s “Armed Forces Salute” (a nice touch for Flag Day), and, for a composer not to be denied, “A Leroy Anderson Portrait.”
Back to Williams, his “Dartmoor” featured winsome solos by flute and oboe. As if it was a specialty of theirs, the players waded with relish into the “Star Wars Main Theme,” likewise the “Raider’s March.”
Could such an evening end without hearing from John Philip Sousa? These musicians answered with a definite no, as they again honored Flag Day with the encore, “Stars and Stripes Forever.”