It’s time to celebrate Tuesday with a trip through the yearly calendar, escorted musically by the Greater Cleveland Concert Band.
The free admission concert starts at 7 p.m. at the Lee university Conn Center.
The concert is programmed to celebrate, through music and dialogue, national diversity, dignity, national pride and heritage, as expressed by American national holidays.
Jeff Rentfro, radio celebrity of WOOP-FM.com, will be serving as concert emcee and leading the celebration with the band and its featured guest performers.
Rentfro has a 25-year musical background with Convertibull and 2nFro bands, along with Tennessee country wit.
Conductor Don Bindrim has selected music popular for the approaching holiday seasons. The beautiful melody of “Shenandoah’s Simple Gifts,” featuring the artistry of Pam Smith on clarinet, Sandy Donegan on oboe and flutist Cheryl Cooper, will portray the thankfulness for the bountiful harvests and it sharing with needy.
This tradition dates back to 1620 when the Puritans left England for the strange and hostile land of the New World. As the immigrants struggled to survive among the natives, each had to learn from one another about God’s gift of the harvest of 1621, and the gift of freedom. The strength of human compassion and ingenuity was tested among both the savage and the friendly Wampanoag tribe, as our new country moved forward.
Do you hear sleigh bells?
Christmastime is here as Karen Dale leads her Cleveland State Vocal Rhapsody singers, accompanied by the audience, in joyful song as they “Deck the Halls,” and harmonize a “Silent Night.”
A New Year’s celebration will erupt after the last seconds of 2020 are counted down by both the band and the audience. The poignant strains of Auld Lang Sine from the imbedded Stage Band will remind concert-goers of their New Year’s Resolutions, which in these modern times, are often more about losing a few pounds than returning anything borrowed. The tradition of New Year’s resolutions dates back to the early Babylonians who first made promises to return borrowed farm implements!
A holiday calendar concert would be amiss without the expressions of love for Valentine’s Day. Appropriately, the audience will enjoy the Stage Band’s special rendition of “My Funny Valentine.”
February is packed with national pride while honoring Black History month, and the birthday anniversaries of Dr. Martin Luther King and Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. The band’s selection of James Swearingen’s medley, “With These Hallowed Halls,” will do justice for honoring President’s Day as a time to inspire everyone to pursue service to others for the public good. The medley opens with Charlie McDowell’s alto saxophone solo on “Amazing Grace,” followed by the band transitioning into “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” via rubato, glorioso and con Spirito tempos giving listeners emotional echoes through hallowed halls of our nation’s Capitol.
From off stage muted bag pipe music will foretell the Saint Patrick story which the Irish brought to America for the first Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston, March 17, 1737. Emerging on stage in full costume regalia will be Brad Collins and his “curious” bag pipe. His appearance will usher in the band playing one of its most its most challenging compositions which sounds like it came right out of Ireland with the bag pipes. Except, it was composed by Gustav Holst who was born British, not Irish. To meld a band selection with the bag pipe entrance, Conductor Bindrim chose the fourth movement of Holst’s Second Suite for Military Band in F Major, titled “Fantasia on the Dargason,” which was either a dance or folk song in the 16th Century.
Collins has been playing bag pipe for more than 20 years. He is a member of the city of Chattanooga Pipe Band. The COCPB’s mission is to perform in competition at Highland Games and other celebrations around the area while representing Chattanooga.
One of the band’s most memorable selections will represent Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It starts with the dirge sound of a Dixieland jazz funeral march, then, not surprisingly, winds up as jazzily as George Olin’s clarinet can whine, with “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Also getting into the swig will be Ricky Donegan’s trumpet and Kathryn Betts on tuba. With everyone’s foot tapping, Narrator Rentfro will lead the audience in a sing-a-long of this favorite.
Musical celebrations for Easter and Earth Day will remind us to take time to admire God’s creations, as the band plays, “What a Wonderful World.”
Memorial Day will be recognized by National Guardsmen presenting the Colors. The band’s Chaplain, Reverend Lu Crandall, will have a few words in remembrance of those who have fallen in defense of our freedoms, and for the those still serving in our armed forces. A bag pipe rendition of “Amazing Grace,” Taps by trumpeter Ricky Donegan and the Stage Band’s, “Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy,” will close this military music segment.
A combo will play, “Song for My Father,” and “A Child is Born,” to honor Father’s Day and Mother’s Day with all the love and sacrifices they represent.
For the Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day, the band will play James Curnow’s new arrangement of John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
When it comes to Labor Day, the Stage Band will give us a jazz arrangement of, “A Hard Day’s Night,” featuring trumpeter Dan Knappen and guitarist Damian Szidiropuloz.
When planning music for Halloween, there is one sure choice, “Music for A Darkened Theatre.” This eerie medley will comprise, “Tales from the Crypt,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Edward Scissorhands,” “Beetlejuice,” and finally, if anyone is still in their seats, “Spider-Man.”
“When Johnny Comes Marching Home” will remind everyone to wish and pray for the day when all our service men and women come home safely. By playing music from our national holidays, the band reminds everyone to take a moment and consider our history, our blends of cultures, and how each had helped make us who we are as a nation.
Samuel Ward’s “America, The Beautiful,” arranged by Carmen Dragon, will give a stirring finale to the evening’s program.
The Greater Cleveland Concert Band is now in its fourth season. Band membership is open to all skill levels without audition, and spans ages from teens in high school to seniors in their eighties.
Five players come from Bradley Central High School, and six are from the Lee University band programs. Players come from over a dozen communities comprising five counties.
There will be nearly 70 performers on stage Tuesday night.
Ensembles from the band membership have provided musical entertainment in retirement homes, schools, churches and service clubs.
As the official concert band of the City of Cleveland, the band has been a goodwill ambassador in Chattanooga and Athens, and at three national community band conventions.
The GCCB has a number of unique activities not usually found in community bands. The Rev. Lu Crandall, associate pastor at the First United Methodist Church, serves as band chaplain, available for pastoral needs of members. Cheryl Cooper publishes a weekly newsletter for each rehearsal which promotes a feeling of “one big family.”
New members are always welcomed to rehearsals on every Monday evening, except holidays. The practices start at 7 p.m. in the Cleveland High School band room which is accessible by turning off Raider Drive, along the stadium, then left behind the high school to the back band room door.
Further information about the concert and band membership can be obtained by phoning 423-614-0060.