Sunday, May 31, 2009

The first Summer Concert - and Chicken Too!

Don't forget this coming Sunday June 7th is the Interlactic Brass concert performed by the Milwaukee Festival Brass. The concert begins at 3 PM in the Schwan Concert Hall on the campus of Wisconsin Lutheran College. See you there.

Now on to the summer season! The first of the summer concerts is performed by the Shorewood Concert Band under the direction of Dr. Pat Backhaus (who also leads the Milwaukee Festival Brass). It will be held in Shorewood's Atwater Park, corner of Capitol Drive and Lake Drive on Saturday June 13 at 4:30. This will be in conjunction with the Shorewood Mens Club Chicken Dinner fundraiser. Besides a nice concert from Shorewood Band, you can also enjoy a barbecue chicken dinner from Rupena's. (Very good, take my word for it.)

This year Dr. Pat's first Shorewood concert is entitled Hands Across the Sea. The band will feature selections from the European Union including March of the Belgian Paratroopers, British Master's Suite and Gustav Holst's First Suite for Military Band. From the US, the band will include Sousa's Hands Across the Sea (of course).

The concert will be great fun and the chicken will be very tasty. No need to cook on June 13th. Enjoy a concert and dinner and help raise funds for an organization that supports the Shorewood Concert Band! Everybody wins!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I always shake my head when I hear someone say "Happy Memorial Day". One of my pet peeves...

The day was set aside to honor those who gave their lives that we might keep our freedom. It started out known as Decoration Day. President Johnson in 1966 declared that Waterloo NY was the birthplace of Memorial Day, but it is difficult to trace the origin. Most likely, the idea began in a number of places and grew to become a national day of remembrance.

Here in Milwaukee, there are two concerts to honor Memorial Day, one by the Knightwind Ensemble at the Zoo at 1 PM, and the other at 5 PM in Memorial Hall at the War Memorial Center downtown performed by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Concert Band. Both concerts will be fun but will also observe the solemn reasons behind the holiday. Certainly, there will be many services at local cemeteries all over the Milwaukee area which will also remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

On a lighter note, I will be at the concert at the Zoo, assisting the Knightwind Ensemble with their last concert of the season. If you are there, stop by and say Hi. I'll be moving equipment to and from the truck.

But please keep Memorial Day as a day of remembrance. Thanks much!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The last Spring Concert

The last of the Spring concerts will be held on Sunday June 7th at 3 PM in the Schwan Concert Hall on the campus of Wisconsin Lutheran College. The Milwaukee Festival Brass will present Intergalactic Brass.

The concert will feature some great music all associated with stars and sky. Music from Star Trek and Star Wars along with Hoagy Carmichael's Stardust fill the pop side of the concert. Great transcriptions of Holst's Mars and Jupiter show off great technical facility from the brass.

The feature of the program is the US Premier of Judith Bingham's The Stars Above the Earth Below, a monumental work inspired by a poem of W.B. Yeats. It's a story tells of a large winged bird that flies over the strife torn country. Using a vast array of notes it is posslble to hear the wings of the bird. Bingham uses some very interesting combinations of instruments to paint fairytale world through sound.

Judith Bingham is a living, British composer. In 1977 she received the BBC's Young Composer award. She has written a great deal of choral music for the King's Singers, conductor Peter Pears and the BBC Singers, of which she was a member for 11 years.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for Students and Seniors. For more information, see the Milwaukee Festival Brass web site:

Also, don't forget the Memorial Day concerts on May 25th. Remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to allow us to play in and support Community Music Groups. We owe them our way of life!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The last of the Spring concerts again

When I posted the last of the spring concerts, I had forgotten about two of them. This post mentions one of the concerts, and next week, I'll provide information on the other one.

The first concert is this Tuesday May 12th at Longfellow Middle School in Wauwatosa performed by the Wauwatosa Community Band. The concert, entitled Music of Wisconsin and America, begins at 7:30. Included in the program is American Sketches: A Folk Song Set of Wisconsin, as well as On Wisconsin...can't have a concert of Wisconsin music without that one! Also on the program is a standard of the US Army Band written by their former director Joseph Wilcox Jenkins: American Overture for Band. You have to listen for the French Horns in this piece!

Joining the band is Chris Flieller of the In Tandem Theatre company to narrate the band's performance of Casey at the Bat. The kids will love it.

Rounding out the program is music from the movies: The Magnificent Seven and The Cowboys (music by John Williams and the only film in which John Wayne's character died).

The concerts are always fun, so don't miss out. Longfellow Middle School is on the corner of 76th and North Avenue and parking is plentiful. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for Seniors and Students, and can be purchased at the door. Even more good news: Longfellow is open and not affected by the swine flu closings!

Mark your calendars!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

In Observance of Memorial Day

Before I get to the Memorial Day information, I found out that there is one more concert in the Spring season that I have not mentioned. On Tuesday May 12 the Wauwatosa Community Band will perform at Longfellow Middle School in Wauwatosa (76th and North Avenue). I do not have any other information at this time. As soon as I get it, I will post it. And also on Saturday evening the 16th, don't forget the concert by the Menomonee Falls Symohony, which I previewed last week.

There are two concerts in the Milwaukee area (that I am aware of) for the observance of Memorial Day, both being performed on Monday May 25.

The first will be performed by the Knightwind Ensemble at 1 PM in the Peck Welcome Center (indoors) of the Milwaukee County Zoo. The concert is an old-fashioned concert in the park, complete with music from Broadway and the Movies, some light classics, and some patriotic music. This concert always finishes with the Salute to the Armed Forces, a rousing finish to a fun concert. And the concert is included with your admissioon to the Zoo.

Having a concert in the park held indoors is a good move for Memorial Day. The weather is just too changeable to hold the concert outdoors.

The second concert is later in the afternoon. The Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Concert Band performs a Memorial Day concert at 5 PM in Memorial Hall at the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center, Wells Street at the Lakefront. This is a free concert honoring those who have fallen and have served their country. Selections include American Patriot Overture, Tribute, A Quiet Music for the Fallen, A Billy Joel Portrait, and the Armed Forces Salute.

So you have a number of options for observing Memorial Day, part fun music and part solemn remberance.