All about trains

Philharmonic performance March 15 at Holy Redeemer features music and trains

Stan Carlson

Warren Philharmonic has an upcoming performance on March 15th at Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church, featuring classical music all about trains.

We know trains are built for various reasons and purposes.

However, music rarely comes to mind when you think of the topic.

Musical Director and Conductor Bryan Eckenrode said he was excited about this concert as a whole because of his own love and nostalgia for trains.

Growing up in Cresson, located between Altoona and Johnstown, Eckenrode’s father was a railroader and the family lived right by the tracks. They lived so close, “the house used to shake,” he said, while remembering the days he would jump onto the trains with a cello on his back.

Bryan Eckenrode

According to Eckenrode, their adventures on the railroad tracks were their primary entertainment, so he is bringing that energy and enthusiasm into this performance.

The concert will feature many selections, but there is one Eckenrode is especially excited about. Late Swiss composer and fellow train enthusiast, Arthur Honegger, composed a piece called Pacific 231 which is made to sound exactly like a steam locomotive. Honegger also has a love for trains, and Eckenrode shared his quote, “I love them as others love women or horses.”

You can say that Honegger had quite the admiration for trains, and Pacific 231 gained the composer early notoriety back in 1923.

The upcoming concert will feature all kinds of fun and classical music about trains. The selections “will get stuck in your head,” according to Eckenrode.

A lot of percussion will be incorporated, and one piece uses an anvil to represent the building of a railroad track.

Years ago, Eckenrode said he would perform selections here and there on trains, but then someone suggested a whole concert.

He admitted that at first he did not think he could put together an entire concert with just trains, but through research he found that there was plenty of content to work with.

“I also found a lot of other people who love trains and have cool train stories,” said Eckenrode, “I find it very interesting.”

Other selections to look forward to are Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train,” and “Little Engine That Could,” narrated by Eckenrode’s long-time friend, Mark Silvis.

Eckenrode is looking to cover the variety of perspectives on trains with this performance. A selection about toy trains will be performed as well.

But, that’s not all.

The church lobby will also feature train paintings by local artist, Stan Carlson.

So, prepare for a double dose of trains!

Eckenrode is currently living on the road with his wife. He travels to perform, and also teaches lessons at various colleges. He is looking forward to this concert and hopes everyone can come and enjoy the good energy and experience the magic.


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