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Evenings with the Band

Filed under: Uncategorized — emitaliablog
Posted on August 16, 2010 @ 1:53 pm
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One of the pleasures of the community where I live is having the ability to simply stroll down the street for a excellent cost-free evening of awesome music by our Municipal Band. This band has been in existence for 101 years, the longest on-going Municipal Band in the land. The music director and conductor Larry has been doing his thing for the band for approximately eighteen years currently, and I have seen pretty much every presentation he has been involved in for the duration of those years. So not surprisingly it is reasonable if I am feeling sad these days to learn that our city just cannot afford to carry on with the band and this year is the last performance for our once-a-year Summer Music Concert Series.

In our town we have all kinds of free music, free movies on the beach and lots of little free rock concerts that happen all summer. But probably none of these compare with the attendance at the Municipal Band Concerts. They are very sought after, with overflow crowds’ at all four significant city parks where they hold them. In fact, it is so crowded that I have been doing what so many in our town do on concert day. I have been venturing out to the park initial thing in the morning to stake out my spot on the lawn with a blanket and chair to tag my spot until I return in the evening. I suppose it claims something good about our town that fifty people can abandon their chairs and blankets sitting on a lawn all day and they are all still there when we return to the park at 6Pm that night to sit and take pleasure in the concert.

By the time the concert starts each week, there are normally around 200 people sitting at the lawn, almost all with picnic baskets of fantastic goodies and the ever so illegal wine to drink. I do find it interesting that they without exception announce at the outset of each show that it is unlawful to consume alcohol on park premises while everyone within earshot of the announcement is uncorking their wine bottles and serving them into wine glasses to pass around. But no-one has ever gotten rowdy, we are a quite sedate lot who sit and munch our cold chicken, drink our wine and listen to Star and Stripes Forever. The wildest anyone gets is when every Fourth of July show the band asks participants of the different armed forces to stand when the band plays the theme for their specific branch of the military. Some get very teary-eyed and many sing along pretty loudly, even if they are tone deaf. But if is very small-town and sweet to see.

My girlfriend and I have been traveling to these concerts with each other for roughly five years now, from the time we met and came to the realization we both loved these concerts. She doesn’t always get out of work in time to be there at the beginning, so I will put the food together in the afternoon while I am writing and take it to the park as she is closing up her shop and venturing out our way. We meet in the park, with her little dog Susie securely in check, and smile at the pleasure this performance brings to our lives.

So I am heartbroken to think that with next week’s performance this amazing ritual of summer in our town will be no more. The town proclaimed last year that they would be cutting back because of limited funding and when the bucket went around for contributions everybody ponied up big time. We raised twice the amount we typically do, but it still wasn’t good enough. High schools did car washes and little old ladies organised rummage sales, but it nonetheless wasn’t enough. They discussed it for three months at town hall conferences, but the musicians are all top artists, a lot of them are session artists in Hollywood studios when they aren’t at the Municipal Concert performances. Despite the fact that they wanted to go down in their fees, they are all union and cannot bring it down further than they have. So this is the end of an era. And we will be all the poorer to be without it.

When Deni isn’t lamenting the loss of her Municipal Band, she is writing blogs about many different and enjoyable things. Some of those include a blog about how to use metal bandsaw blades correctly, the best way to build a brick retaining wall for your garden and what the real estate market is like in Monroe County in Southern Florida.

 

 




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