That’s a wrap.
I caught the last Long Beach Municipal Band concert of this summer Friday night at El Dorado Park.
We used to live a couple blocks away, and El Dorado was our regular Muni Band venue for awhile, but it’s not my favorite; it’s flat and, for my taste, too crowded. Give me the cozy confines and natural amphitheater at Los Cerritos, or the sea breezes at Marine Stadium.
But here we were, and it was a lovely warm evening, the only kind we allow in Long Beach during the summer.
Conductor Larry Curtis chose a program called “Toot, Whistle, and Boom.” The musical selections all featured various extra-musical sounds.
Take, for example, the first piece. John Philip Sousa’s “The Liberty Bell” may be familiar to fans of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” but I had never heard it before. The eponymous Philadelphia icon makes an aural appearance, thanks to the orchestral chimes.
I had heard “And the Antelope Play,” by the Bob Cole Conservatory’s own John Carnahan, before. It begins with the sound of the wind, created by the trombonists blowing tonelessly through their instruments, and evokes the history of the Antelope Valley, through the use of Native American flute sounds along with more conventional, open prairie “Western” music.
Our band rehearses at Long Beach City College, and expressed their thanks for the use of facilities by inviting band instructor Brian Hamilton to lead a piece. The “Padstow Lifeboat” march by Malcolm Arnold recreates the boat’s famous foghorn with a combination of sax, horn, and euphonium.
Leroy Anderson composed many orchestral pop classics, including “Sleigh Ride,” and also a very jaunty, clever piece called “The Typewriter.” Percussionist John Magnussen, a classmate of mine from college, was the soloist. The familiar “Colonel Bogey March” by Kenneth Alford (the pen name of A.J. Ricketts who, as a military officer, used an alias to compose) had the audience whistling the main tune, and very well, too.
Sousa’s favorite encore was evidently a ditty called “The Roosters Lay Eggs in Long Beach” (Kansas originally), which featured the band singing. Harmless fun. And Henry Fillmore’s “The Klaxon” used an automobile horn.
The big piece was Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” complete with synthesized cannon and, again, the orchestral chimes in place of church bells. The band arrangement worked reasonably well, especially when played as sensitively and beautifully as it was here. The rousing climax brought the audience to its feet. Alas, the 13-minute work left no time for the band’s traditional “Stars and Stripes Forever” closing.
There was a Disney cartoon from the 1950s called “Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom.” I heard no plunks here, but toots, whistles, and, in the Tchaikovsky, plenty of booms.
And thus ends the Municipal Band’s 110th season.
- [LLODO] Michigan state Dem pepper-sprayed, charged with DUI, resisting arrest, weapons possession: report
- [LLODO] Head of NYC’s posh Dalton School leaving at the end of 2021
- [LLODO] Chilling video captures moment a love triangle erupts in murder, revenge in NYC
- [LLODO] NYPD officers hit with Molotov cocktail and liquid chemical in face, police say
- [LLODO] California group files federal civil rights complaint over San Diego school district’s ‘racist’ teachings
- [LLODO] Podcast helped in hunt for 1996 killer of California student
- [LLODO] National weather forecast: Parts of Northeast could see more than a foot of snow
- [LLODO] Cuomo boasts he ‘invented’ NYS-scented hand sanitizer, faces no questions over scandals
- [LLODO] Teacher who decried NYC school’s ‘indoctrination’ put on remote work: ‘Feels like punishment’