The Michigan City Municipal Band (MCMB) will begin its 154th season on Thursday, June 9, 7:30p, at the Guy F. Foreman Bicentennial Amphitheater in Washington Park.
The MCMB 154th season will consist of ten free Thursday concerts, beginning June 9, and 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. The MCMB also plays for the annual Memorial Day ceremony at Greenwood Cemetery, and in the Michigan City Patriotic Parade.
Highlights of the summer concert series include special guest soloists and two commissions by award-winning composers. Soloists will be GySgt. Hiram Diaz, euphonium, from the US Marine Band (July 28); Dr. George Wolfe, saxophone (June 23); Anne Marie Bice, soprano (June 16 and 30); and Rick AmRhein, baritone/narrator (July 14). Additional soloists may be announced later in the season.
The world premiere of Where the Stormy Winds Blow by Dr. Jesse Ayers will take place on July 14. The work is based on a true story, recorded in the Library of Congress, about a Lake Michigan shipwreck with a triumphal ending. Rick AmRhein will serve as narrator and baritone soloist, and the audience will be invited to sing along on a Lake Michigan sea shanty. On July 28, the Concerto for Euphonium and Band by Tom Davoren will showcase the band with world-class euphonium soloist GySgt. Hiram Diaz, in three beautiful and dazzling movements.
The June 9 concert repertoire will be:
Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland
Sinatra in Concert arr. Jerry Nowak
A Hymn of Peace by Daniel Chisham
Heartbeat Song by Kelly Clarkson
Grandmother Song by Brent Michael Davids
Don’t Stop Me Now by Freddie Mercury
Who’s That Masked Man? by Jay Bocook
Prayer for Ukraine by Mykola Lysenko
How Far I’ll Go by Lin-Manuel Miranda
America, the Beautiful arr. Warren Barker
The band’s two opening numbers honor the late Bruce Fischer, who played percussion in the MCMB for several decades. Fanfare for the Common Man is the instantly-recognized composition by Aaron Copland that was commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra during World War II. Sinatra in Concert features some of the most famous songs of “Old Blue Eyes”, including New York, New York; It Was a Very Good Year; The Lady is a Tramp; and My Way.
With so much conflict in the world, Daniel Chisham’s gentle composition, A Hymn of Peace, allows us to encourage cooperation and harmony.
Heartbeat Song is the 2015 hit by singer, songwriter, actress, and television personality Kelly Clarkson.
Brent Michael Davids is the famous Native American composer who has written for ensembles and films, and has been commissioned by the Joffrey Ballet and the National Symphony Orchestra. Grandmother Song was composed in honor of Mr. Davids’ grandmother, and is in the style of a selection one might hear at a pow wow.
Don’t Stop Me Now is the fast and fun 1979 hit by Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame band, Queen.
To protect health during the pandemic, people around the world have been wisely wearing masks for more than two years! In an attempt to provide some levity in this serious situation, the MCMB presents a medley of famous characters who wear masks: The Phantom of the Opera, The Lone Ranger, The Incredibles, and Spiderman. The compilation is called Who’s That Masked Man? and was created by legendary arranger Jay Bocook.
Mykola Lysenko was an important Ukrainian composer who focused on his nation’s folk songs and poets. Mr. Lysenko wrote Prayer for Ukraine in 1885 for children’s choir. It is considered a spiritual anthem for the Ukrainian people, and it is the composition that was performed in February by the Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York to open Saturday Night Live.
How Far I’ll Go, by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is one of the iconic songs from Disney’s blockbuster movie, Moana.
Finally, the MCMB is bringing back its tradition of closing each concert with a patriotic audience sing-along. Warren Barker’s arrangement of America, the Beautiful allows us to enthusiastically honor our great nation.
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.
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. Mr. Ford, principal saxophone in the MCMB, is retired director of bands from Michigan City High School.
The band’s announcer is Rick Carlson.