The sixth concert of the 153rd season of the Michigan City Municipal Band (MCMB) will be held Thursday, July 15, 7:30p, at the Guy F. Foreman Bicentennial Amphitheater in Washington Park. Special guest soloist will be Gunnery Sergeant Hiram Diaz from the US Marine Band in Washington, DC, “The President’s Own,” playing euphonium. (The euphonium is sometimes called a baritone, and it looks like a small tuba.)
The July 15 concert repertoire will be:
Oblivion by Astor Piazzola
Mesto by Tom Davoren
GySgt. Hiram Diaz, US Marine Band, euphonium soloist
Use Me by Bill Withers
Lean on Me by Bill Withers
Rippling Watercolors by Brian Balmages
The Fairest of the Fair March by John Philip Sousa
Nabucco Overture by Giuseppe Verdi
God Bless America by Irving Berlin
Gunnery Sergeant Hiram Diaz grew up in Miami. He graduated from Miami’s New World School of the Arts, then earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. He joined the US Marine Band, “The President’s Own,” in 2012. He is co-leader of the Marine Band’s Latin Jazz Ensemble.
GySgt. Diaz will be playing Mesto, the third movement from Concerto for Euphonium and Band by award-winning composer Tom Davoren. The Michigan City Municipal Band is commissioning Mr. Davoren to write this four-movement composition. We’ll play the entire concerto here with GySgt. Diaz next summer.
Astor Piazzolla is an Argentine composer who has been called “the most important interpreter of the modern tango.” Mr. Piazzolla wrote the tango Oblivion for the 1984 movie Henry IV.
One of the popular musical artists the world has lost during the pandemic was Bill Withers. We’ll remember Mr. Withers with two of his biggest hits: Use Me, and what became one of the anthems of the pandemic, Lean on Me.
Brian Balmages is the director of instrumental publications for FJH Music Company. He is a remarkably creative composer who has written for bands at all levels. Rippling Watercolors is a beautiful selection that shows off the gorgeous tone colors of the concert band.
The Sousa Band was often contracted to play for major fairs and expositions. Promoters knew that the Sousa Band was so popular and musically successful that their event would turn a profit when the Sousa Band was in residence. Such was the case with the Boston Food Fair of 1908, for which The Fairest of the Fair was composed. In addition to standard Sousa compositional techniques, many of the musical lines sound like roller coasters, moving up and down.
The Giuseppe Verdi opera, Nabucco, premiered at La Scala in 1842. It is considered the opera that solidified Verdi’s reputation as a world-class composer. The story follows the plight of the people assaulted by the Babylonian King Nabucco.
To help keep musicians and audience members safe, band members will follow strict safety protocols, including bell covers on woodwind and brass instruments, and physical distancing.
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.
The band’s announcer is Rick Carlson.