What: 1508th concert of the Harmony Racine
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday July 31
Where: Racine Zoo, 2131 N. Main St.
To note: The zoo gates at Walton Avenue and Augusta Street open at 7 p.m. for free admission to the concert site, the Kiwanis Amphitheater on the east side of the zoo grounds. A courtesy cart, for spectators who need help getting to the concert site, is available before and after the concert. The weekly concerts run until Sunday August 14th.
RACINE — The Racine Concert Band continues to celebrate its historic 100th season, and the Sunday night program features a unique song from the band’s past.
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“When I was working on the band’s history project, I came across this new piece, which the band was playing a lot,” said Vera Olgiun, band librarian and piccolo player.
The piece is “The Elephant and the Fly” by Henri Kling, first published in 1918. It is a duet for piccolo and trombone – the small “fly” of the group against a larger brass “elephant” .
“Bands also perform it as a piccolo/tuba duo,” Olguin said, “to contrast the highest octave with the lowest in a band.”
Olguin has been a member of the Racine Concert Band – and the Kenosha Pops Concert Band – since 2006. She also performs with the UW-Parkside Community Band, Wind Ensemble and Community Orchestra and The Dolce Consonant Flute Choir.
In addition to performing, she is the music librarian for the Racine Concert Band, the Kenosha Pops Concert Band, and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside bands.
Barnes — a member of the Racine Concert Band for four years — also performs with major bands in the area, including Swing Nouveau and the All-Star Super Band in Milwaukee. This is his first duet with a piccolo on what he calls “a fun little piece”.
Bass-baritone Greg Berg continues a long tradition Sunday night by performing four songs with the Racine Concert Band.
Berg, director of fine arts at WGTD radio and professor of music at Carthage College, first sang with the band “in the late 1980s when they formed the Racine Municipal Band,” he said. declared. “Bandleader Del Eisch asked me to sing ‘Danny Boy’ with the band when they played for a community band convention in, I believe, Naperville, Ill.”
Singing with the band, he added, “has always been a complete pleasure – singing great music with a great ensemble.”
Berg will perform two classical pieces: “An Die Musik” by Franz Schubert and “Non Piu Andrai” by WA Mozart. Later, he returned to the stage to sing two standards of American music: “Embraceable You” and “Blue Moon”.
Schubert’s piece, he said, “is one of the most beloved songs ever written about music. The words speak of how music is that incredible gift that helps us get through what the poet calls “the gray hours” of life. I’ve always found that to be true, but never more so than recently, when my father was on his deathbed and my siblings and I, and other members of family, spent hours singing to him.
“We hope it has comforted and supported him; I know it has comforted and supported us – it is the power of music and, above all, the power of singing.”
Mozart’s aria, from the 1786 opera “The Marriage of Figaro”, is one of the most popular arias ever written. And, for Berg, it’s a very special number.
“It was the very first opera aria I ever sang,” he said. “I was a junior in high school when my singing teacher gave it to me, and in many ways it was the piece of music that really opened up my voice for the first time.”
Sunday night viewers should listen carefully: Berg sang the Italian aria “in English at the time,” he said. “And I’m thinking of singing it in English twice as well, just for the good old days.”
The two standards he performs on Sunday evening are also his favorites.
“Blue Moon,” he said, “is one of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s best songs. Hart wrote several different sets of lyrics for Rodgers’ melody – none of which really worked. These lyrics are Hart’s fourth attempt, and we should all be grateful that he persevered until he struck gold.”
“Embraceable You” by George and Ira Gershwin, said Berg, “is one of the greatest songs of all time – and not just because of George’s luscious melody. Ira’s lyrics are some of the best ever. he ever wrote.”
Marches and a ragtime hit
The Sunday evening program also includes:
- “The Entry of the Gladiators”, a circus “screaming march” written in 1897 by Czech composer Julius Fucík. (It was also released as “Thunder and Blazes”.)
- The overture to “Queen for a Day” by Adolphe Adam.
- “Brighton Beach”, a walk by William P. Latham.
- “Wedding Day at Troldhaugen”, an 1896 piece by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.
- “Jalousie” by Jacob Gade, a tango written by Danish composer Jacob Gade in 1925.
- “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin, which was written in 1902 and became an international hit decades later when it was used as the theme music for the Oscar-winning 1973 film The Sting.
- John Philip Sousa’s “King Cotton” march.
Mark Eichner, who is celebrating his 20th season as the band’s musical director, will lead the program. Don Rosen, a professional broadcaster for 50 years, is the master of ceremonies.