The Concert Band of the American Federation of Musicians Local 159 will present several free outdoor band concerts in the area during the month of July.
For the first time in its forty-year history, the band has added a new venue to its calendar. The village of Bellville will host a concert in its downtown gazebo on Saturday evening, July 25, beginning at 7 p.m.
The band will be conducted by Steven D. Taylor, and is comprised of fifty-five professional and highly accomplished instrumentalists from Ashland, Richland, Crawford, and Wayne Counties. Taylor enjoyed a thirty-five-year career as Director of Bands in the Hillsdale Local Schools, and was himself a long-time performer in the Federation Concert Band in addition to other area groups. He began directing the ensemble over ten years ago, and was awarded Local 159’s “President’s Award” in 2012.
Entitled “As Seen On T.V.,” the band’s program pays tribute to the rich variety of musical styles and themes that have become familiar since the explosion of television popularity in American homes in the 1960’s. From cartoons to news programs, nearly every broadcast uses music as its signature, Taylor points out, and many of these compositions have lasting value.
“One of the great things about our concert band as a performing ensemble,” says Taylor, “is that the instruments lend themselves to just about any style of music, and our players have the experience and versatility to bring it all to life.”
Along with several samples of well-known songs from shows like “Andy Griffith,” “Dragnet,” and “Glee,” the band will also have some fun with high-energy cartoon music from the Simpsons, the Animaniacs and the Flintstones.
In what Taylor calls the centerpiece of the concert, the band will perform Rossini’s Overture to the “Barber of Seville,” honoring the classic Bugs Bunny opera, “Rabbit of Seville.” Taylor says this is just one example of how television has elevated music’s popularity.
Borrowing a page from the “Lawrence Welk” tradition, the band will give individual sections a chance to shine on virtuoso pieces, including “Clarinet Polka” and “Lassus Trombone.”
In addition to short weekly TV series, full-length movies also bring music into people’s living rooms. The band will feature a local vocal talent, Brianna Barnes, singing the title role in a collection of highlights from Disney’s “Mary Poppins.”
With the Local 159 Concert Band accompanying her, Barnes will sing “Just a Spoonful of Sugar,” “Chim-Chim-Cheree,” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious,” all songs which she’ll also perform later this summer in the Mansfield Renaissance fully-staged production of “Mary Poppins.” The band’s program also includes a patriotic tip-of-the-hat to the Independence Day holiday, including several traditional American marches.
Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs if possible, as provided seating is limited.