Friday, August 10, 2007

U.S. Air Force Band of Liberty Plays at Chandler Pond

The U.S. Air Force "Band of Liberty" celebrated its 60th year -- and Brighton-Allston's 200th -- with an outdoor, evening concert Thursday night (8/9) in Gallagher Park next to Chandler Pond in Brighton. I would guess that 400 or so people were in attendance.

Following the opening number, the Air Force Band had a well-timed fly-over. Not by a Stealth Fighter or the Blue Angles, but a flock of Canada Geese headed towards Chandler's shores to make their 1-pound daily deposit. Actually, the grass and sidewalks near the pond currently have less goose-goo than in recent years, although that may be a function of our recent, heavy rain.

The guest conductor was none other than Senior Master Sergeant Bill Drury, better known locally as a conductor of wind ensembles at New England Conservatory and the Boston Conservatory. His standard military post is conducting the Air National Guard Band on Cape Cod.

As you might expect, the Air Force Band played nothing but American music, but it had a surprisingly wide range of styles:
  1. Star Spangled Banner, *sung by Michelle Felicia
  2. Paul Creston: Celebration Overture. A mid-20th century composer known for many changes of meter and diatonic writing, this work is popular among wind ensembles
  3. Henry Fillmore: Men of Ohio March. Early 20th century band composer known for "Lassus Trombone"
  4. Leonard Bernstein: "Tonight" *
  5. Bernstein: West Side Story Suite (un-attributed arrangement for wind ensemble)
  6. George Gershwin: "Someone to Watch Over me" *
  7. Gershwin: "I Got Rhythm" *
  8. unannounced big band number, maybe Lionel Hampton
  9. Major Glenn Miller: "In the Mood". Perennial crowd favorite, especially the dancing children
  10. Benny Goodman: medley, ending with "Sing, Sing, Sing"
  11. "Freedom", first popularized by Wynonna Judd *
  12. Service Marches: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Goast Guard, and Air Fforce
  13. God Bless America, in a power ballad arrangement
  14. [encore] John Philip Sousa: Stars and Stripes Forever March
The event was put on as part of the Brighton-Allston Bicentennial celebration, co-sponsored by Boston Parks and Recreation, Brighton Main Streets, Brighton Board of Trade, and Chandler Pond Preservation Society. Rosie Hanlon claims to have extracted a promise out of Master Sergeant Drury to return again next summer.

Deet bug spray provided by Boston Parks and Recreation Department. Bravo!

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