Whitehall-Coplay Press

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
CONTRIBUTED PHOTOThe Allentown Band placed third in the American Prize Community Band-Wind Ensemble Division for its CD, “Tribute to John Williams.” CONTRIBUTED PHOTOThe Allentown Band placed third in the American Prize Community Band-Wind Ensemble Division for its CD, “Tribute to John Williams.”
CONTRIBUTED IMAGEThe Allentown Band received an American Prize Special Judges’ Citation for its CD, “Championing the Music of Morton Gould.” CONTRIBUTED IMAGEThe Allentown Band received an American Prize Special Judges’ Citation for its CD, “Championing the Music of Morton Gould.”

Allentown Band CDs receive two American Prize awards

Friday, January 3, 2020 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS Special to The Press in Focus

The Allentown Band has been awarded the American Prize’s Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music 2018-2019.

The band, which was named a Finalist Honorable Mention, received a Special Judges’ Citation for its CD, “Championing the Music of Morton Gould.”

The band also received a Third Place Citation in the American Prize’s Community Band-Wind Ensemble Division for its performance on its CD “Tribute to John Williams.”

“This is the first time we ever applied for this competition,” says Ronald Demkee, conductor of the Allentown Band. “I’m very happy about the outcome. I’m very proud of the band.”

Demkee says while the third place finish in the community band division is an honor, he is especially pleased with the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award since that competition was open to all divisions which includes bands, choirs and orchestras “at all levels.”

Both of the CDs that were recognized are from the band’s acclaimed “Our Band Heritage” series of 31 CDs.

The American Prize created the annual award in the memory of Ernst Bacon, who received a Pulitzer Scholarship for his “Symphony in D minor” and was a member of the pioneering generation of composers who, along with Thomson, Copland and Harris, found a voice for American music.

Gould was an American composer, conductor, arranger and pianist who composed Broadway scores such as “Billion Dollar Baby” and “Arms and the Girl;” film music such as “Delightfully Dangerous,” “Cinerama Holiday,” and “Windjammer;” music for television series such as “World War One” and the miniseries “Holocaust;” and ballet scores, including “Interplay,” “Fall River Legend” and “I’m Old Fashioned.”

Gould received a Grammy Award in 1966 for his recording of Charles Ives’ first symphony, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

In 1995, Gould was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for “Music for Stringmusic,” a composition commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra in recognition of the final season of director Mstislav Rostropovich.

In 2005, Gould was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

“His music spans a lot,” Demkee says. “He even did a symphony for band called ‘Jericho Rhapsody.’ It is a very technically difficult piece of music.”

The CD includes “Jericho Rhapsody” as well as highlights from “Windjammer” marches from “West Point Symphony” and other selections.

The American Prize is a series of non-profit national competitions in the performing arts providing cash awards, professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition for the best recorded performances by ensembles and individuals each year in the United States at the professional, college-university, church, community and secondary school levels.