The second concert of the 153rd season of the Michigan City Municipal Band (MCMB) will be held Thursday, June 17, 7:30p, at the Guy F. Foreman Bicentennial Amphitheater in Washington Park.
The June 17 concert repertoire will be:
Warrior Legacy by Soon Hee Newbold
On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss by David Holsinger
The Thunderer March by John Philip Sousa
Folk Suite by William Grant Still
Spring by Johan de Meij
Blue Moon by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
El Condor Pasa by Daniel Robles
Quad City Stomp by Michael Sweeney
America, the Beautiful arr. Warren Barker
Guest soloist on the June 17 concert will be Anne Marie Bice, voice professor from Valparaiso University. Ms. Bice has extensive performance experience and sings in a wide variety of styles. Prof. Bice will sing music by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, and Dutch composer Johan de Meij.
Since last week, we learned that another long-serving member of the Michigan City Municipal Band died since our 2019 season. Norm Jones played tuba in the band for many years, and also served as the band’s secretary/treasurer. The MCMB’s June 17 performance of On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss will be played in honor of Norm. The text for the hymn includes the line “It is well with my soul.”
The composer of Warrior Legacy, Soon Hee Newbold, works in southern California as an actress, producer, and composer for films, television, and commercials. The work commemorates the rich history of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, which includes the legacy of settlers from the Plymouth Colony, as well as battles from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. The audience will enjoy the “sailing” feel of this work—with reminiscences of Pirates of the Caribbean.
In 1889, John Philip Sousa was still director of the US Marine Band when he composed The Thunderer for a major event of his Masonic Lodge in Washington, DC. The bugle call in the second section of the march is an excerpt from a selection in Mr. Sousa’s 1886 publication The Trumpet and Drum. The Sousa Band performed twice in Michigan City:
Tuesday, October 13, 1914, evening, Orpheum Theater
Monday, November 10, 1924, matinee, Tivoli Theater
The Thunderer was on the program for the Sousa Band tours in 1914 and 1924, so it is likely that it was performed in Michigan City in both of those years.
William Grant Still was considered by many to be the “dean” of African American composers. Dr. Still studied at Wilberforce University (where he later served as band conductor) and Oberlin Conservatory. His opera, Troubled Island, was the first opera by an African American to be performed by a major American company. The MCMB will play excerpts from Dr. Still’s Folk Suite, containing many melodies that the audience will recognize.
Daniel Robles was a Peruvian composer. His 1913 composition El Condor Pasa, based on traditional Andean music, was written for a zarzuela, which is a Spanish operetta with both sung and spoken parts. The melody from the song was made more famous in 1970 by Simon and Garfunkel in their hit song “If I could…”
To help keep musicians and audience members safe, band members will follow strict safety protocols, including bell covers on woodwind and brass instruments, physical distancing, and masks.
All of the concerts are free, and everyone is welcome. School band members and young children are especially encouraged to attend. Parking on Lake Shore Drive is prohibited. Parking is available in the lots closest to the amphitheater, as well as the Senior Center. Entrance to the park is free with a Michigan City Park sticker; otherwise, there is a parking fee.
The MCMB 153rd Season consists of ten free Thursday concerts, ending August 12. All concerts begin at 7:30p and last about an hour. The band plays a wide variety of music, with concerts designed to entertain audience members of all ages.
Jeffrey Scott Doebler is the conductor for the MCMB, and Quincy Ford is the assistant conductor. On November 3, 2018, Dr. Doebler was named a Distinguished Hoosier by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb. Dr. Doebler serves as director of music education and bands at Valparaiso University. He is a past president of the Indiana Bandmasters Association and the Indiana Music Education Association. He is founder and conductor of Windiana: Professional Concert Band of Northwest Indiana. Mr. Ford, principal saxophone in the MCMB, is retired director of bands from Michigan City High School.