The fourth concert of the 154th season of the Michigan City Municipal Band (MCMB) will be held Thursday, June 30, 7:30p, at the Guy F. Foreman Bicentennial Amphitheater in Washington Park. The concert will celebrate Independence Day.
The June 30 concert repertoire will be:
March: The National Game by John Philip Sousa
Someone to Watch Over Me by George Gershwin – Anne Marie Bice, soprano
Moon River by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer – Anne Marie Bice, soprano
Castles in Europe by James Reese Europe
American Riversongs by Pierre LaPlante – Charles Steck, conductor
On a Hymnsong of Lowell Mason by David Holsinger – Charles Steck, conductor
A Time to Dance by Julie Giroux
A Prayer for Peace by John Williams
Amber Waves of Grain by James Curnow
A Patriotic Festival by Mark Williams – Anne Marie Bice, song leader
The Stars and Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa
Guest soprano soloist 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 George Gershwin, Henry Mancini, and Johnny Mercer.
Conducting two selections will be Charles Steck, who serves as conductor of the LaPorte City Band and associate conductor of the LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra. Prof. Steck teaches trumpet at Valparaiso University and performs with many local ensembles.
John Philip Sousa composed The National Game in 1925 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of baseball’s National League. Mr. Sousa was a baseball fan, and the Sousa Band had its own baseball team, on which Mr. Sousa served as pitcher. Audience members will hear baseball bat solos in the final section of the march, and will be encouraged to cheer when our batters get a hit!
Soprano Anne Marie Bice will be featured on two of the most famous songs in the great American song book: Someone to Watch Over Me by George Gershwin, and Moon River by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer.
Castles in Europe is a Ragtime march by James Reese Europe, who became the first African-American bandmaster in the US Army. Maestro Europe was famous throughout the United States before World War I with his society orchestras, which were somewhat similar to ensembles like the Sousa Band. Mr. Europe’s society orchestras played lots of Ragtime and Jazz, and were among the first to record Jazz music. James Reese Europe became known as the “King of Jazz.” At the height of his fame, and with the Great War just underway, James Reese Europe enlisted in the New York National Guard. Lieutenant Europe was charged with forming an outstanding band. His band became the 369th Regiment, and was the first African American regiment sent to France. The 369th Regiment earned a reputation for being especially tough in combat.
We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Charles Steck, conductor of the LaPorte City Band. Maestro Steck will guest conduct two selections with the Michigan City Municipal Band. American Riversongs was created by Pierre LaPlante, and includes many famous songs, including Shenandoah, The Glendy Burke, and Down the River. On a Hymnsong of Lowell Mason is based on the famous hymn My Faith Looks Up to Thee. It is especially appropriate, because the hymn’s composer, Lowell Mason, is considered the father of American music education.
Composer Julie Giroux is the winner of three Emmy awards, and is in demand as a composer for schools, professional ensembles, and the entertainment industry. Ms. Giroux’s program notes from A Time to Dance are simply this excerpt from Ecclesiates III: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance….”
John Williams celebrated his 90th birthday on February 8. His composition, A Prayer for Peace, was composed for the 2005 film, Munich.
The band and Anne Marie Bice will lead the audience singing Mark Williams’ arrangement entitled, A Patriotic Festival. The medley includes:
I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy; America; America, the Beautiful; and The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
The MCMB 154th Season consists of ten free Thursday concerts, ending August 11. 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. 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.
Jeffrey Scott Doebler is the conductor for the MCMB, and Quincy Ford is the assistant conductor. Dr. Doebler serves as director of music education and bands at Valparaiso University. Mr. Ford, principal saxophone in the MCMB, is retired director of bands from Michigan City High School.
The band’s announcer is Rick Carlson.