Coming up on Monday May 26th is the Milwaukee County Zoo's 19th Annual Memorial Day Pops concert presented by the Knightwind Ensemble. The concert begins at 1 PM at the Peck Welcome Center on the Zoo grounds. The concert is free with your Zoo admission.
Milwaukee's Knightwind Ensemble plays newer (and harder) music at their formal concerts in November and March. However, every Memorial Day they perform "an old fashioned band concert in the park," except that the park is the Milwaukee County Zoo, and the setting is the Peck Welcome Center, just behind the penguins as you enter the Zoo. Memorial Day weather varies greatly from year to year, but the concert setting in the Welcome Center is always dry and nice. And surprisingly, the sound in the hall is very good.
This year Maestro John Steinke has pulled out some evergreen favorites for the concert, including The Peanut Vendor, Baby Elephant Walk, the Floyd Wherle arrangement of Fandango, a medley of Irish tunes, and music from the Broadway Show Gypsy.
In observance of Memorial Day, the Ensemble closes the concert with their Salute To The Armed Forces, a medley of all five of the service hymns (can you name all five service branches?). Maestro Steinke always requests veterans to stand when their service hymn is played and be recognized by the audience. It is a special way to end a concert....and a season. For once the Pops concert is concluded, the Knightwind Ensemble breaks for the summer. Many members play with summer municipal bands in their home towns.
Bring your Holiday weekend to a musical conclusion by taking in the Knightwind Ensemble, and enjoying a day at the Zoo. And stop by and say hello. I'll be the Knightwind Roadie For The Day, hauling the percussion equipment and driving the truck. You'll see me setting up and taking down equipment.