A History of Music

by Mary Helen Turek

What: Brunswick Concert Band Summer Concert Series
When: Various dates and times
Where: Various locations
Cost: Free
Info: www.brunswickbands.org

When most folks think of our nation’s birthdate, the Fourth of July, visions of fireworks, parades, great barbecue, and John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” played by a tuneful martial band come to mind. The 50-member strong Brunswick Concert Band will provide “Stars” and a lot more during a series of concerts in and about Brunswick County.

This year’s Summer Concert Series director is Tom Smicklas. Tom’s first experience playing Sousa was using original music manuscripts that the composer, through his associate Victor Grabel, gave to his high school in Cicero, Illinois, in the early 1930s.

The Brunswick Concert Band Summer Series director Tom Smicklas with his wife, Margaret Smicklas. Courtesy photo

The Brunswick Concert Band Summer Series director Tom Smicklas with his wife, Margaret Smicklas. Courtesy photo

Tom recalls that he cut his teeth on artful and traditional band literature playing with park concert bands in and around Chicago. And we know that thousands of other cities and towns throughout the land featured similar band events—and do so to this day. “I am proud that we are now providing this Americana music for the residents of Brunswick County at a series of venues, without charge and in its purest form,” Tom shares. “The program selected and being admirably performed is second to none in the area.”

The 2014 concert is entitled “A New York City Central Park Goldman Band Concert.”  The Goldman Band has performed annually in Central Park and around the city since 1911. The Brunswick Concert Band’s program features such band classics as the 1904 arrangement of the Fillmore Band’s “Light Cavalry Overture”; Sousa’s 1893 march “High School Cadets”; “Santa Anna’s Retreat from Buena Vista” from the Stephen Foster’s 1848 Missippi Steam Boat revue; the 1938 National Band Contest “Allan-A-Dale Overture”; Sousa Band’s original 1917 version of the national anthem, all four verses being sung by band member, Brunswick educator and historian Dick Slease; and Karl King’s 1916 Barnum and Bailey Circus strut “The Walking Frog.”

Also on the play list are Fred Jewell’s 1916 patriotic march “E Pluribus Unum,” and a special treat, Ben Edwards—Brunswick Concert Band member and Brunswick County educator—will perform the tour de force, “Beautiful Colorado,” exactly as written and arranged for the Sousa Band’s world tour in 1903 by Sousa’s solo euphonium player, the Italian virtuoso Giuseppe De Luca.

The Brunswick Concert Band also will perform traditional Independence Day music such as “Yankee Doodle,” “You’re A Grand Old Flag,” “This Land is Your Land,” “God Bless The U.S.A.,” “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” and a special medley including selections from all of the United States Military Services’ anthems.

“We feel strongly that bringing America’s music to all points of Brunswick County’s compass is in line with the historic intent of music performances for Independence Day,” Tom divulges. “We also know our responsibility as stewards of unquestionably the one most important music ensemble of traditional Independence Day activities, the community band, to be true to our heritage and historically accurate—and to elevate our audience in the spirit of what is best about America, and we will deliver.”

The Concert Band will be taking their program directly to all areas of Brunswick County. The Concert Dates and times are as follows:

Winding River, Bolivia: Friday, June 27th at 6:30 p.m. outdoors near the clubhouse. Follow the signs. Private to Winding River residents only.

Magnolia Greens, 1800 Linkwood Circle, Leland: Sunday, June 29th at 4 p.m. outdoors near the clubhouse. Follow the signs. Open to the public.

Sunset Beach: Tuesday, July 1st at Seaside United Methodist Church, 1300 Seaside Rd. SW.

St. James: Wednesday, July 2nd at 6:30 p.m. at Woodlands Park. Private to St. James residents only.

Southport Naturalization Ceremony: Thursday, July 3rd at 3 p.m. at the Fort Johnston Garrison Lawn, 203 E. Bay Street (see page 8 for more details about the ceremony).

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