Mat-Su Concert Band Performs Classics Ranging From ‘West Side Story’ To Organ Masterwork


Contributed by Drewcilla Holifield

“Band Classics” Concert
03/02/19 – 7:30 PM
Mat-Su Concert Band
Glenn Massay Theater
8295 E College Dr. Palmer
$15 General Admission
$7 for Students, Kids Under 5 FREE

Some of the finest music ever written for band will take center stage at an upcoming performance by the Mat-Su Concert Band.

The “Band Classics” concert is at 7:30 PM on Saturday, March 2, at the Glenn Massay Theater in Palmer. Concerts have an admission: tickets are $15 for general admission; $7 for students; and children under 5 get in free. Tickets are available for purchase at

The “Finale” of what’s known as the Organ Symphony by Camille Saint-Saens – his Symphony No. 3 in C minor – features a glorious, cathedral-sized organ part. The composer said of this, his last symphony: “I gave everything to it I was able to give. What I have here accomplished I will never achieve again.”

The timeless music of Leonard Bernstein comes to life with selections from “West Side Story” that includes melodies from “I Feel Pretty”, “Maria” and “One Hand One Heart.” Set in the 1950s on Manhattan’s West Side, but based on William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, the musical tells the tale of Tony and Maria, members of rival gangs whose love turns to tragedy.

The band is excited to perform Gustav Holst’s “Suite in E-flat for Military Band”, which is considered one of the cornerstones of the concert repertoire, written specifically for band. Triumphant yet moving, the piece features delicate wind solos and sonorous horns as well as rousing melodies – plus a rare bass drum solo.

Also on the program is “Manhattan” by Philip Sparke, a tribute to a weekend in New York City that was commissioned by the U.S. Army band, for their solo cornet player. This will be performed by our band’s own U.S. Army Band standout, William Rabun.

There’s some Sousa in the mix too – but you’ll have to come to the concert to see which selections emerge.

The band got its start in 1984 as the Mat-Su Community Band, formed by Matanuska Music owner Hank Hartman. Other directors have included Neil Long and Phil Munger.

Current director, Gleo Huyck, is a retired music educator and private instructor. Under Huyck’s baton, the band performs a wide-ranging selection of challenging music. The band this season numbers about 70 amateur musicians who assemble every Monday night for rehearsals at Palmer High School.