NEC Celebrates Veterans Day

Conductor William Drury applauds from the Jordan Hall stage.

The NEC community includes many retired and active duty servicemembers, as well as members of military families. On Tuesday, November 12, conductor William Drury and NEC Symphonic Winds bring many of these together to celebrate Veterans Day in a Jordan Hall concert.

“Thank you to all veterans and thank you to those that are serving today.”

Associate Conductor of Wind Ensembles and SMSgt (retired) William Drury is also an NEC alumnus and a U.S. Air Force reservist. He offers these remarks:

New England Conservatory has a rich tradition of men and women serving in all branches of the military and all types of military jobs—not just in bands. Many NEC alumni have or are serving overseas in harm's way, or are serving stateside. They bestow honor on NEC and themselves.

I have sent my airmen to war zones so that they can play music for troops that have been away from their families for months at a time. Stateside, military bands are the connection between the entire military and U.S. citizens. Military bands are an honorable and needed profession.

Thank you to all veterans and thank you to those that are serving today.

“There were times when all he and his fellow men could do was sit together and sing.”

Jazz voice faculty Dominique Eade is the daughter of U.S. Air Force General George J. Eade. She will perform in Tuesday's concert with the USAF's Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble, and shares her reflections on her parents' love of music, and the subtle connection between flying and singing:

Dominique Eade closes her eyes and sings into a microphone in an unaccompanied solo performance in Jordan Hall.

My father was a fighter pilot in World War II. He met my mother, who was from Switzerland, in Paris during the war, after the city was liberated in 1944.

Both of my parents loved music, jazz and classical. When my mother came to the US as a war bride, the port of entry was New York. One of the first things they did was to go hear jazz. Lionel Hampton’s big band was the first thing they heard and they cherished that memory.

My father had a very resonant and melodious voice. My mother, a very good pianist, had a keen sense of pitch and would often set him straight when his enjoyment of his booming voice would cause him to wander from a reasonable pitch center.

One of the most touching stories my father told me about the war was how, after missions of unspeakable danger, witnessing sights we can’t imagine such young adults seeing, there were times when all he and his fellow men could do was sit together and sing, song after song, uttering barely a spoken word. It’s where they found solace.

My father loved to fly, especially understanding and navigating the aerodynamics with both science and instinct before more sophisticated flight instruments made that easier to do. I sometimes think this love of “surfing the elements” is similar to navigating the airflow when I’m singing and I enjoy that subtle connection to my father’s passion.

“Being able to perform back at NEC is always an honor.”

Joel Borrelli-Boudreau conducts the Navy Band Northeast
Lt. Joel Borrelli-Boudreau ’90 conducts the Navy Band Northeast.

The two guest conductors are both active duty NEC alumni glad to return to the Jordan Hall stage for this holiday observance. Lt. Joel Borrelli-Boudreau ’90 says:

It is a great honour for me and the sailors of Navy Band Northeast to participate in this unique Veterans Day collaborative concert. We are very excited to work with Professor Drury, his Symphonic Winds, and Major Rafael Toro-Quiñones and the USAF Heritage of America Band.   It is also a wonderful homecoming;  I graduated from NEC in 1990 with a Bachelor Degree in Trombone Performance.

Major Rafael Toro-Quiñones ’09 MM shares:

Being able to perform back at NEC is always an honor. This upcoming concert, however, is incredibly special, as there is so much meaning in this collaboration. Sharing the stage with our U.S. Navy friends, my mentor Maestro William Drury and the Symphonic Winds, all while celebrating Veterans Day, makes this performance the opportunity of a lifetime.

As we celebrate Veterans Day we get to thank those who served and are serving and just as importantly, their families. We get to do this in a very special way as we welcome Ms. Dominique Eade, to perform with our Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble. This is our way of honoring her, as a military daughter and her father, who served as a general officer in our United States Air Force.

Symphonic Winds Celebrates Veterans Day: Tuesday, November 12, 7:30 p.m. at NEC's Jordan Hall. NEC Symphonic Winds shares the stage with the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band, the Navy Band Northeast, and the U.S. Air Force Jazz Ensemble, led by Lt. Joel Borrelli-Boudreau ’90 (U.S. Navy) and Major Rafael Toro-Quiñones ’09 MM (U.S. Air Force). Jazz voice faculty Dominique Eade, whose father was a career general in the U.S. Air Force, joins as a performer.

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