Thursday, June 30, 2022 Concert

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

Anne Marie BiceGuest 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.

Charles SteckWe’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.
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Thursday, June 23, 2022 Concert

The third concert of the 154th season of the Michigan City Municipal Band (MCMB) will be held Thursday, June 23, 7:30p, at the Guy F. Foreman Bicentennial Amphitheater in Washington Park.

The June 23 concert repertoire will be:

The Invincible Eagle March by John Philip Sousa
Lightnin’ by Rudy Wiedoeft and Hugo Frey George Wolfe, saxophone
Persuasion by Sammy Nestico George Wolfe, saxophone
Tudor Sketches by William Owens
Folk Songs of Britain by Guy Foreman
Lady Gaga Dance Mix arr. Ted Ricketts
Anthem for Peace by Ed Huckeby
Highlights from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein
Cirbiribin by Alberto Pestalozza
From Sea to Shining Sea by Maurice Whitney

Dr. George WolfGuest soloist will be George Wolfe. Dr. Wolfe is Professor Emeritus at Ball State University, where he taught saxophone performance and chamber music for 32 years. He has performed extensively throughout the United States, and has also concertized in Europe, Cyprus, Costa Rica, Canada, India, Korea and Japan. He has been heard on radio stations across the US, and has appeared as a soloist with such ensembles as the Royal Band of the Belgian Air force, the United States Navy Band, the World Band at Disney World, the Medalist Concert Band in Minneapolis, and Windiana Concert Band. Critics have praised his playing as “brilliant and moving.” John Lambert, writing in the Winston Salem Spectator, described Wolfe’s performance as “a deeply satisfying and moving artistic experience.”

Dr. Wolfe holds a Performance Certificate from Indiana University, where he studied with Eugene Rousseau and Daniel Deffayet. He is featured on eight volumes of the compact disk series America’s Millennium Tribute to Adolphe Sax, distributed by Arizona University Recordings. He has presented master classes at the Paris Conservatory, Indiana University, and the Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Dr. Wolfe will perform two solos with the MCMB: Lightnin’ by Rudy Wiedoeft and Hugo Frey, and Persuasion by Sammy Nestico. Rudy Wiedoeft was one of the early saxophone virtuosos. He made more than 300 recordings, and is credited with helping to popularize the saxophone (invented by Adolphe Sax in 1840) in the USA and Europe. Sammy Nestico was one of the most successful jazz composers of the last 50 years. He is perhaps best well-known for his compositions and arrangements for the Count Basie Band. Persuasion is a beautiful ballad.

The Sousa Band played twice in Michigan City:

1914—Tuesday, October 13, evening, Orpheum Theater

1924—Monday, November 10, matinee, Tivoli Theater

The 1914 tour also included concerts in LaPorte and Valparaiso. Since The Invincible Eagle was on the 1914 tour program, it is likely that the Sousa Band played it in Michigan City, LaPorte, and Valparaiso.Continue reading

Thursday, June 16, 2022 Concert

The second concert of the 154th season of the Michigan City Municipal Band (MCMB) will be held Thursday, June 16, 7:30p, at the Guy F. Foreman Bicentennial Amphitheater in Washington Park.

The June 16 concert repertoire will be:

Hands Across the Sea by John Philip Sousa
James Bond Suite arr. Frank Erickson Anne Marie Bice, soprano soloist
Over the Rainbow by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Yarburg Anne Marie Bice, soprano soloist
Ring of Fire by June Carter & Merle Kilgore
The Doors in Concert arr. Paul Murtha
It’s All Right by Curtis Mayfield
Resting in the Peace of His Hands by John Gibson
The Circus Bee by Henry Fillmore
A Patriotic Festival arr. Mark Williams Anne Marie Bice, song leader

Anne Marie BiceGuest 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 Harold Arlen and E. Y. Yarburg, and music associated with James Bond movies.

John Philip Sousa composed Hands Across the Sea in 1899, with no specific overseas country in mind. It was meant to symbolize America’s friendship with other nations around the world. Coincidentally, the march was on the program for the Sousa Band’s first European tour the year after it was composed.

The James Bond Suite will showcase Anne Marie Bice singing four well-known Bond songs: James Bond Theme, Live and Let Die, For Your Eyes Only, and Goldfinger. Then Prof. Bice will take us to the Emerald City with Warren Barker’s arrangement of Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz.Continue reading

Thursday, June 9, 2022 Concert

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.Continue reading

Thursday, August 12, 2021 Concert

The tenth and final concert of the 153rd season of the Michigan City Municipal Band (MCMB) will be held Thursday, August 12, 7:30p, at the Guy F. Foreman Bicentennial Amphitheater in Washington Park.

The August 12 concert repertoire will be:

Stitches in Time: A Second Piece by Meredith Brammeier
Old Town Road by Lil Nas X
The Belle of Chicago March by John Philip Sousa
Highlights from Frozen II by Kristen and Robert Lopez
Irish Tune from County Derry by Percy Grainger
Shepherd’s Hey by Percy Grainger
Too Young by Sidney Lippman and Sylvia Dee
Beau Monde by Jack Stamp
God Bless America by Irving Berlin
The Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa

Stitches in Time: A Second Piece was the MCMB’s 2020 commission. Composer Meredith Brammeier created each movement as her interpretation of quilting patterns.

Old Town Road, by rapper Lil Nas X, was the winner of two Grammy Awards in 2020. At 19 weeks, the song holds the record of staying number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

John Philip Sousa composed The Belle of Chicago in 1892, and he dedicated it to the “Ladies of Chicago.” The march was finished just before he completed his 12-year tenure as conductor of the US Marine Band. He spent the next 40 years touring with his own professional band. Among the Sousa Band’s first successes was playing for the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago, where the band was sometimes acclaimed as the “World’s Fair Band.”

Highlights from Frozen II, by Kristen and Robert Lopez, contains the following songs:

Vuelie, All is Found, Some Things Never Change, Into the Unknown, Lost in the Woods, and Show Yourself.

Born in Australia, Percy Grainger was known as an innovative composer, virtuoso pianist, and folk music researcher & arranger, as well as one of the first to use the phonograph in the collection of folk songs. The MCMB will play two of Mr. Grainger’s folk song settings. First is Irish Tune from County Derry, which we all recognize as Danny Boy. Second is a Morris dance called Shepherd’s Hey.

In 1952, Nat King Cole topped the Billboard charts for five weeks with Too Young, a song by Sidney Lippman and Sylvia Dee.

Beau Monde is the MCMB’s 2021 commission. It is an exciting and creative adaptation of the well-known hymn For the Beauty of the Earth. Dr. Jack Stamp, the composer, served for many years at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is also the founder and conductor of a professional concert band called Keystone Winds. In retirement, Dr. Stamp is teaching at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

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Thursday, August 5, 2021 Concert

The ninth concert of the 153rd season of the Michigan City Municipal Band (MCMB) will be held Thursday, August 5, 7:30p, at the Guy F. Foreman Bicentennial Amphitheater in Washington Park. Guest 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 and Ira Gershwin and Hoagy Carmichael.

The August 5 concert repertoire will be:

Radetsky March by Johann Strauss, Jr.
Florentiner March by Julius Fucik
‘S Wonderful by George and Ira Gershwin
Stardust by Hoagy Carmichael
Scarf Dance by Cecile Chaminade
My America arr. Joyce Eilers
St. Louis Blues by WC Handy
La Fiesta Mexicana (excerpt) by H.Owen Reed

Radetsky March and Florentiner March were favorites of the late Dr. Charles Janovsky. “Dr. J” played clarinet in the Michigan City Municipal Band for 39 years, and the band is honoring him by playing these two selections. In addition to Dr. Janovsky, the Michigan City Municipal Band has recently honored four other long-serving band members who died since the band’s 2019 season: Michael Boo, Steve Hornyak, Norm Jones, and Bud Westphal.

George and Ira Gershwin composed ‘s Wonderful in 1927 for the musical Funny Face. Performed and recorded by countless artists over years, the song was also used in the 1951 film, An American in Paris.

Also composed in 1927, Stardust is a classic by Indiana’s own Hoagy Carmichael. Recorded at least 1500 times, Stardust entered the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1995, and the National Recording Registry in 2004.

Cecile Chaminade (1857-1944) was an acclaimed French composer and pianist, the first female awarded the Legion d’Honneur. Ms. Chaminade toured the USA in 1908, and one of her most popular compositions was Scarf Dance.

My America is Joyce Eilers’ lovely setting of America, which we all know as My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.” Mrs. Eilers earned degrees from Oklahoma City University and the University of Oregon. She was a school music teacher for many years, and also taught at Pacific Lutheran University. Mrs. Eilers was well-respected for her hundreds of choral compositions and arrangements, her sight-singing methods, and her mentorship of young composers.

W.C. Handy dubbed himself the “Father of the Blues.” An important American songwriter, Mr. Handy was one of the first publishers of blues music. Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1993, St. Louis Blues was inspired by Mr. Handy’s meeting of a distraught woman in St. Louis.

Composer H. Owen Reed (1910-2014) taught at Michigan State University for nearly 40 years. La Fiesta Mexicana is Dr. Reed’s impression of a Mexican fiesta.

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Thursday, July 29, 2021 Concert

The eighth concert of the 153rd season of the Michigan City Municipal Band (MCMB) will be held Thursday, July 29, 7:30p, at the Guy F. Foreman Bicentennial Amphitheater in Washington Park.

The July 29 concert repertoire will be:

The Free Lance March by John Philip Sousa
Original Dixieland Concerto by John Warrington
Beau Monde by Jack Stamp
Summit by Kevin Day
The Bonsai Tree by Julie Giroux
Il Guarani Overture (excerpt) by Antonio Gomez
Sesame Street Celebration arr. Michael Brown
From Sea to Shining Sea by Maurice Whitney

In addition to over 130 marches, Mr. Sousa composed many other types of music, including several popular operettas. Several of his marches were extracted from the operettas, including The Free Lance. The story of the operetta reads like a soap opera, with the bankrupt kingdoms of Braggadocia and Graftiana trying to steal from each other.

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Thursday, July 22, 2021 Concert

The seventh concert of the 153rd season of the Michigan City Municipal Band (MCMB) will be held on Thursday, July 22, 7:30p, at the Guy F. Foreman Bicentennial Amphitheater in Washington Park. The band plays a variety of music designed to entertain audience members of all ages. All concerts are free and everyone is welcome. Jeffrey Scott Doebler is the conductor for the MCMB and Quincy Ford is the assistant conductor. Dr. Doebler serves as director of music education at Valparaiso University. Mr. Ford, principal saxophone in the MCMB, is retired director of bands from Michigan City High School. Assistant conductor Quincy Ford will lead the band this week.

The July 22 concert repertoire will include:

Semper Fidelis by John Philip Sousa
The Marriage of Figaro Overture by W. A. Mozart arr. Earl Slocum
Sea Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Hebrides Suite by Clare Grundman
Balladair by Frank Erickson
Funiculi Funicula by Luigi Denza arr. Philip J. Lang
The Lion King Soundtrack Highlights arr. Calvin Custer
Tritsch-Tratsch Polka by Johann Strauss arr. Alfred Reed
Bugler’s Dream by Leo Arnaud
Hands Across the Sea by John Philip Sousa
A Patriotic Festival arr. Mark Williams
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Thursday, July 15, 2021 Concert

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
Premiere performance
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.

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Thursday, July 8, 2021 Concert

The fifth concert of the 153rd season of the Michigan City Municipal Band (MCMB) will be held Thursday, July 8, 7:30p, at the Guy F. Foreman Bicentennial Amphitheater in Washington Park. In honor of Independence Day, many of the compositions will be patriotic.

The July 8 concert repertoire will be:

Esprit de Corps by Robert Janet
Emperata Overtute by Claude Smith
The Ragtime Drummer by James Lent
Block M March by Jerry Bilik
An Irish Rhapsody by Clare Grundman
Big Band Favorites by Robert Lowden
Manhattan Beach March by John Philip Sousa
Pop and Rock Legends: Chicago
More Cowbell! arr. Michael Brown
You’ve Got Friend in Me by Randy Newman

At this concert, the band will remember the late Steve Hornyak, who served as band president for over 50 years.

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