Friday, December 2 2022

The Kenosha Pops Concert Band will wrap up their historic 100th season tonight by playing favorite tunes from their summer performances.

Craig Gall, the band’s musical director, said: “We’ve had another great summer making music. »

The season, said Gall, “featured some fun themes as we moved from decade to decade, celebrating the band’s first 100 years”.

“As we enter our second century,” he added, “we would like to thank the City of Kenosha for their continued support and sponsorship, and we extend our thanks to our loyal viewers for the tremendous support that they brought to us on our anniversary season.”

Kathy Ripley – who is finishing her first season as the band’s assistant bandleader – called it “an awesome first season. I had a lot of fun and can’t wait to do it again.”

“Return to Full Power”

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Gall was also happy that the group was “coming back to full strength for the first time since 2019”. (The band’s entire 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions, and the band performed with a smaller group in 2021, to allow for greater social distancing on the band’s shell.)

The band’s musicians, he added, “make it happen every summer. We all pull it together.

Group favorites

The August 3 program features favorites from the summer season, which featured the band’s first-century music:

  • On the program for June 15: “Badger Legionnaire”. The Pops Band began as an American Legion band, sponsored by Paul Herrick Post 21, and this march was written in the 1920s. It’s “a piece of Kenosha Pops history,” Gall said. “It was written by the group’s third director – George E. Manupella – for the local American Legion Post.” (Manupella was a director from 1924 to 1961. He followed directors Helmuth Schaefer and Peter Niccolai Sr.)

The different strains of the piece, said Gall, “are traditional folk songs from Italy”.

  • From the June 22 concert: A medley of songs from “The Wizard of Oz”, including “We’re Off to See the Wizard”, “The Merry Old Land of Oz”, and “Over the Rainbow”. Also on the program: “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic”, a piece by John W. Bratton arranged by Paul Yoder.
  • From June 29: Ripley will lead John Williams’ march from the 1979 film “1941.” Gall will lead the band on two tracks close to his heart: “Serenata,” a late 1940s track by pop favorite Leroy Anderson , and Roland Kohler’s “In schoner Erinnerung” polka.

Anderson’s piece “was a mainstay of the Pops when I first joined the band,” said Gall, who is in his 20th season as the band’s bandleader. He first joined the Pops almost 30 years ago, playing in the low horn section. As for the polka, the title means “in remembrance” in English, “which fits well with our 100th anniversary and looking at the music of the last century,” Gall said. The polka, however, is a recent tune, composed in 2019.

  • From July 6: “American Patrol” by FW Meachem and Carmen Dragon’s arrangement of “America the Beautiful”, featuring vocalist Greg Berg, the band’s emcee.
  • From July 13: “Summer of ’69: The Music of Woodstock”, with arranger Ted Ricketts compiling the songs “Purple Haze”, “Somebody to Love”, “Judy Blue Eyes”, “With a Little Help from my Friends”, “Soul Sacrifice,” “Pinball Wizard,” and “Proud Mary.” Also from this program: a medley of the Broadway musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”
  • From the July 20 concert: A medley of hits by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, featuring “Crocodile Rock”, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and “Candle in the Wind”, and the calypso song “Under the Sea”, by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman of Disney’s 1988 animated film ‘The Little Mermaid’. Also from this program: “Star Wars – The Marches” by John Williams, with the main theme of “Star Wars” and “Darth Vader’s Theme”.

The final program each summer also includes ‘Old Scottish Melody’ – better known as ‘Auld Lang Syne’. This traditional piece, sung by Berg, has become the band’s signature every season.

“We had another great summer of music creation,” Gall said. “We’ve also had great crowds every week, which we really appreciate.”

“It’s always sad to see the summer season come to an end,” he added, “but we’ll see everyone in December at Carthage College for our Christmas concert.”

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