Themes Like Old Times

Themes Like Old Times

It will be a very busy night Wednesday on the band shell in Pennoyer Park. Not only is the Kenosha Pops Concert Band performing, but the program will feature the U.S.
Navy Band based at Great Lakes in northern Illinois playing from 6:30 to 7:25 p.m.; guest vocalist Lou Rugani; an Artie Shaw tribute featuring clarinetist Tim Bell; a vocal solo by master of ceremonies Greg Berg … and we haven’t even mentioned the hot beef sandwich dinner!

The CYO Band is selling a “sack lunch” for $5 before the concert. The meal — a hot beef sandwich with soda and chips — will be served from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday in the St. Catherine Commons Community Room across the street from Pennoyer Park.  Patrons can eat the meal in the community room or take it to the park. Funds raised will go to the Bob Willems Music Scholarship for the CYO Band.

Willems, a longtime member of the Pops Band who died in the fall of 2009, was also a supporter of the CYO Band.

(Note: the meal will be served even if the concert is rained out.)

The “Themes Like Old Times” theme is most evident in the two medleys called “Themes Like Old Times,” both arranged for band by Warren Barker. The pieces contain old chestnuts like “My Melancholy Baby,” “Ain’t We Got Fun,” “On Moonlight Bay,” “For Me and My Gal,” “Pretty Baby” and “Tiger Rag.”

Craig Gall, the musical director of the Kenosha Pops Concert Band, calls the progam “a real cavalcade of entertainment,” which includes the medley “Big Bands in Concert,” arranged by Bob Lowden. That piece features “A String of Pearls,” “Satin Doll” and “Sophisticated Lady.”

Henry Fillmore’s “Hallelujah Trombone” — called “a trombone smear” because of the instrument’s sliding motion — features the band’s trombone section: Tom Frost, Katie Poole, Erik Ripley and John Schoettler.

The program even features a piece Gall describes as “a Victoria era parlor song from the turn of the century.” That piece — “Love’s Old Sweet Song,” with vocals by Berg — is the band’s attempt “to being back the parlor song,” says Garrett Kornman, the band’s assistant conductor.

Rounding out this diverse evening of music is “A Tribute to Artie Shaw,” featuring tunes made famous by the master clarinet player — “Dancing in the Dark,” “Begin the Beguine” and “Star Dust.” Bell, a retired college music professor, is the featured soloist.

The band will also perform the march “Repasz Band March.”  The piece was written for the Repasz Band, which was founded in Williamsport, Pa., in 1831 and is the oldest non-military band in continuous existence in the United States. In 1859, the band’s membership voted to rename the Williamsport Band for one of its most talented conductors, Daniel Repasz.

The “Repasz Band March” was used in an episode of TV’s “M*A*S*H,” with Col. Potter singing lyrics to its sprightly 6/8 melody.

According to band member Nancy Eischeid, the “March” first was copywrited in 1901, and the band has been performing it since that time.

On the band’s Web site, Gene Bardo, a musician and former member who wrote about the band in 1983 for The Instrumentalist magazine, wrote that “The ‘Repasz Band March’
is the second most played march in the world, exceeded in number of performances only by Sousa’s ‘Stars and Stripes Forever.’ ”

That’s fitting because the Wednesday night concert finale is “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” featuring the combine forces of the Pops Band and the Great Lakes Navy Band. Lt. Patrick K. Sweeten, conductor of the Navy Band, will lead about 100 musicians on the band shell in performing the Sousa favorite.

Lou Rugani singing with Pops Wednesday night

The Kenosha Pops Concert Band welcomes guest vocalist Lou Rugani, host of WLIP-AM 1050’s longtime radio show “Music of the Stars,” which airs Sunday mornings and afternoons.

Rugani will be singing three standards arranged for band by Warren Barker, “who composed and arranged a ton of good music,” said Pops’ Musical Director Craig Gall. The pieces are: “How Long has This Been Going On?” by George and Ira Gershwin, “Blue Moon” by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart and “As Time Goes By” by Herman Hupfeld.

CYO Band selling ‘sack lunch’ before the concert

The CYO Band is selling a “sack lunch” for $5 before tonight’s Kenosha Pops Band concert.

The meal — a hot beef sandwich with soda and chips — will be served from 5 to 7 p.m. in the St. Catherine Commons Community Room across the street from Pennoyer Park. Patrons
can eat the meal in the community room or take it to the park. Funds raised will go to the Bob Willems Music Scholarship for the CYO Band.

Willems, a longtime member of the Pops Band who died in the fall of 2009, was also a supporter of the CYO Band.

(Note: The meal will be served even if the concert is rained out.)

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