Saturday, May 31, 2008

That inbetween time

We are just finishing up the regular season for some community bands while some have completed theirs. And the summer bands have not started up yet. But there is news about one more concert.

The Milwaukee Festival Brass performs "Prime Time Brass", their last concert of the season on Saturday June 7th at 7:30 PM at the United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay on East Silver Spring Drive. For the brass band fan, the group will perform Stephen Bulla's Canticles in Brass. For the kids (of all ages), Dr. Pat has programmed some Disney Favorites. And the MFB will have two soloists. The first is George Hunhke, who will sing Mack The Knife. Also joining the MFB is trumpeter Andrew Neesley on two big band tunes, Jumpin' at the Woodside, and Stardust. Andrew grew up in Glendale and now is based in New York. He is stopping by his home town before his band tours Italy. Andrew's latest news is that the CD he performed on with the Bobby Sanabria Big Band was nominated for a Grammy. It's great to see a local do so well in the world of music! Don't miss this concert!

The first summer band concert that I am aware of is Saturday June 14th in Shorewood at Atwater Park. The Shorewood Concert Band will entertain in the late afternoon at the Shorewood Men's Club Chicken BBQ dinner. Once I get some details of the music, I'll post it. The Shorewood Band concerts are always a good time. And the chicken is from Rupena's...the best!

If you have schedules for summer bands, post them in a reply and we can all update our calendars. Thanks.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

More fun, part 2 and some thoughts

Turns out that the mess from last week filtered into this week. I found out on Monday that the truck reserved for the Senior home concert was changed to another local company....but they also changed the date of the rental. So, on the phone I went again. I got the rental corrected and assigned to a third local company, the one I am to use on Memorial Day. Later that day I called the local company and asked to verify both reservations. Lo and behold, all was well.

So, the Senior home concert went off without a hitch. And the people at the local rental company were very nice to work with. But I guess the lesson learned is that followup is always needed to catch mistakes and carelessness from the vendors and their partners. In this case, there were four different companies involved. I'm glad that the people at the last company were so nice...I plan on working with them again.

Memorial Day

There are two concerts to bring to your attention, both on Memorial Day, Monday May 26th. The first is the Knightwind Ensemble concert inside the Peck Welcome Center at the Milwaukee County Zoo at 1 PM. Free with your Zoo admission, the concert is an old fashioned band concert in the park. It will conclude with a special salute to our Armed Forces in observance of Memorial Day.

The second concert is at 5 PM at the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center downtown presented by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Concert Band. This concert will also include patriotic music in observance of Memorial Day. Take in one or both of the'll have a great time and you'll be reminded of the reason we observe Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ever have one of those days?

I just got through one of those weeks. And I did not get to prepare a post on community bands because of it. But one of the episodes I had this week has to do with the final two Knightwind Ensemble concerts. So, here's one example of the week's fun!

Many of you know that I help out the Knightwind Ensemble. One of my duties is to rent a truck to move percussion equipment to our concerts. So, back in April I reserved trucks for both our Senior Home concert and the Memorial Day Pops concert. I was assured there would be no problem. Then last week went nuts and everything seemed to be going wrong. I decided that I would call and confirm the truck rentals just to be sure.

Turns out that the national phone number I called passed the rental reservation to the local company just fine. The Senior Home concert will be smooth. However, I also found out that the local company is not open on Memorial Day. The reservation was on their books but they would be closed. They suggested I call the national number again.

The person at the national number took the information and promised me that someone would call back within two hours. Then she gave me the phone number to call in case I missed their call. That was 3 days ago...still no call. But thanks to the person who gave me their number. I get to hassle them tomorrow. At least I have a week to get this straightened out before Memorial Day. With apologies to Linda Ellerbee, "and so it goes".

On another note, Summer band concert season is just around the corner. I'll be logging a few of the festivities right here. If you know of summer band concerts, post them in a reply and we can all enjoy them! Thanks.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Upcoming Concert: Memorial Day Pops Concert

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.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Upcoming concert: Menomonee Falls Symphony

The Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra, a community orchestra in the Milwaukee Area, will present The Many Faces of Vienna on Saturday May 17th at 7:30 PM in the auditorium at North Junior High School in Menomonee Falls. The special guest will be the Orchestra's Young Artist Winner, Britt Johnson.

Every spring, the Menomonee Falls Symphony holds auditions for promising young musicians. Not only does the winner receive a scholarship, they also perform with the orchestra at the last concert of the season. This years winner, Britt Johnson, is a freshman at Colombia University in New York. Her musical studies are at the Manhattan School of Music. She graduated from Neenah High School summa cum laude last year, where she was also an all conference / state swimmer. She will perform the first movement from Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto.

The rest of the concert will feature a variety of music associated with Vienna. Strauss waltzes will be featured in Tales from the Vienna Woods. A more modern approach to Vienna can be seen in Schoenberg's Five Pieces for Orchestra. The concert concludes with Beethoven's Symphony Number Seven.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for Seniors, and $6 for Students. For more information, please see the Orchestra's web site, or call 262-679-0779.