The Kokomo Park Band will open its 117th Summer Concert Season on Wednesday, June 12, at 8 p.m. in Highland Park with "Smile, It's Summer!"
The free event spotlights youth and will feature the Multicultural Youth Rhythm Ensemble which will begin performing at 7:15 p.m. The concert also will feature the 2019 High School Student Solo Competition winner, Connor Granlund, performing on trombone. In the event of rain, the concert will be moved to the Kokomo High School Auditorium at 2501 S. Berkley Road.
Connor Granlund will perform “Morceau Symphonique,” written in 1902 by Felix Alexandre Guilmant as an examination piece for the trombone students at the Paris Conservatory. It remains a beloved staple of the solo trombone repertoire. Connor is a junior at North Central High School where he is active in all facets of the band program. This year, he was selected to perform in the prestigious IBA All-State Honor Band. He has earned consistent Gold ratings as a trombone and euphonium soloist at the ISSMA State Solo and Ensemble Festival for the past five years.
His performance opportunities, coupled with the direction of his private teacher, Blake Schlabach, have fostered a great love of music. However, Connor's two most influential forces have been his middle school band director; his mom, Candi Granlund (a graduate of Northwestern High School and frequent bassoonist in the KPB); and his school band director and father, Rick Granlund. Connor plans to pursue instrumental music education in college.
The 26th annual Multicultural Youth Rhythm Workshop is an activity sponsored by the Kokomo Park Band and has been under the direction of Art Reiner since its inception. The classes are held over three days at the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library. The library graciously handles the promotion and scheduling for the event. Participants will perform on their own prior to the concert and also will join the band in the selection “Chips and Salsa.” Reiner is an active professional musician and percussion instructor at the University of Indianapolis. He served as a music clinician with Young Audiences of Indiana for over twenty years.
Artistic Director Jay Gephart has selected several unique and entertaining compositions to emphasize the “Smile” theme of the evening. The opening selection, “Sun Dancing” by David Shaffer, is a musical portrait of the simple but intensely beautiful sun-catcher, a small reflective, refractive, and/or iridescent ornament that is like the optical equivalent of a wind chime.
“Clowns” by Philip Parker is a light-hearted piece depicting the frantic antics of clowns running around performing their zany acts at a circus. “Imaginarium” by Randall Standridge celebrates human creativity, ideas, and dreams.
More traditional fare includes “Onward Upward March” by the celebrated bandmaster Edwin Franko Goldman and “Trombone Smiles,” a novelty for trombone slide “smears” by Indiana composer Fred Jewell. Other selections include “Wolverine Summer” by Randall Standridge, “Happy from Dispicable Me 2, ” Selections from “UP,” and Robert Buchley’s “Laugh Out Loud (LOL).”
The KPB summer season consists of eight weekly concerts on Wednesday evenings continuing through July 31. They are produced with the support of the Kokomo Parks Department, Community Foundation of Howard County, Indiana Arts Commission, Center Township Trustee, Tippecanoe Arts Federation, National Endowment for the Arts, and American Legion, Post 6.
Other concerts include
· June 19 - “Side By Side” Concert - Guest Conductor Matt Conaway will lead outstanding high school musicians performing alongside the seasoned professionals of the KPB, featuring Todd McReady on euphonium
· June 26 - “Circus Days” celebrates music for the big top with special tributes to the Peru Circus. The featured soloist is William Schmidt on tuba.
· July 3 - “From Sea to Shining Sea” - Sponsored by Bayliff, Harrigan, Cord, Maugans & Cox P.C., this patriotic concert celebrates the Fourth of July and will feature the Albert E. Shockey Marine Corps League Color Guard, vocalist Cody Kopka, and the Kokomo Park Singers. The program will recognize our military veterans and provide a musical tribute to our nation and its people. (Rain location is Havens Auditorium at IUK)
· July 10 - “Big Band Night” - Sponsored by Stout Funeral Home and Crematory with Guest Conductor “Mo” Trout, featuring the KPB Swing Orchestra, a hybrid group of the region’s finest jazz musicians with vocalists Cherresa Lawson and Gary Wallyn.
· July 17 - “Brass Band Night” includes music from the Civil War era, Salvation Army Brass Bands, British Brass Bands, and modern selections. An Instrument Petting Zoo for Kids and the Kokomo Marching Wildcats will be featured at this event.
· July 24 - “The Great American Songbook” - Sponsored by McGavic’s Outdoor Power, this concert pays tribute to the music of Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and others and will feature the Retired Rum Runners Dixieland Jazz Band, the Kokomo Men of Note, vocal soloists, and Saxophonist Neil Broeker.
· July 31 - Grand Finale: “South of the Border” features trumpeter Bruce Knepper and music from Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean.
The free concert is sponsored by Caron & Jones Dental Care.
The majority of the band's funding depends on donations from individuals. Contributions may be sent to Kokomo Park Band, PO Box 6039, Kokomo, IN 46904-6039 or may be made online. More information can be found on Facebook and on the band's website: www.kokomoparkband.org.