You know summer is here in St. Joseph, Michigan, when the St. Joseph Municipal Band begins its 2001 concert season with their normal double band concerts at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 24 at the John E. N. Howard Band shell and then concludes the opening day’s activities with it’s normal late night “Big Band” concert scheduled ½ hour after the evening concert beginning at 9:00 p.m.


Dr. Donald Moely, Director of the Band beginning his 14 th season indicated, “The band is in intense rehearsal preparations for the opening of the season, as they meet for the first time for this year.” 


New this season will be two sparkling  herald trumpets which are featured at the beginning of each concert.  Trumpeters Debra Kroening of St. Joseph and Donny Wallenfang, of Benton Harbor,  play these instruments with the band at each side of the stage performing the National Anthem as part of the regular opening music for each concert.  The herald trumpets were a generous gift to the city by the Trojan family in loving memory of Ronald J. Trojan.  Dr. Moely said “The band and especially the trumpet players are truly appreciative of this wonderful gift used for each of the 26 concerts the band plays this season..”   This is then followed immediately by the Warren Barker arrangement of George Gershwin’s “Strike up the Band”.


After the opening ceremonies, the concert begins with a march written by the American march master, John Philip Sousa, entitled “The Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.”


As a way of ushering in the beginning of the season the band next performs “A Festive Prelude” by Alfred Reed., followed by a march by Frank Paella  “On the Square.”.  More variety is then shared with many of the popular songs of Henry Mancini in a Warren Barker arrangement of “Mancini Spectacular”, featuring some of the favorite songs Mancini penned like “Moon River,” Baby Elephant Walk,” “Charade,” “Dear Heart,” and “Peter Gunn”


Featured vocal soloist guest for the opening weekend of the 2001 season will be Brinden Brown.   Born in Elkhart, IN, Miss Brown graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, MI her senior year of high school, and went on to study vocal performance, first, at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and finally at Bethel College in Mishawaka, IN. Her vocal teachers have included Randi Pickley and Joan Troyer of Elkhart, Jeffery Norris at Interlochen Arts Academy, and Rita Shane at Eastman School of Music. Currently living in Edwardsburg, MI., she is a student of Victoria Garrett.


A veteran of the stage since her youth, Miss Brown has performed a variety of musical theatre, opera and recital performances, including Mikado, Gallantry, Le Nozze di Figaro, Pirates of Penzance, Cosi Fan Tutti, Gianni Schicci, Fiddler on the Roof, Bye Bye Birdie, West Side Story, etc. In addition, Miss Brown has been the soprano soloist for a number of concert appearances in the Michiana area. This is her second season performing with the St. Joseph Municipal Band.

Miss Brown will perform with the band selections from the Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim hit Musical, “West Side Story.”   With this performance she thereby introduces this season’s theme of featuring vocal solists with the Municipal Band sharing some of the great songs of the various notable Broadway musicals.   Miss Brown performs highlights from the Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim’s musical hit, “West Side Story.”  


The band continues its concert with “La Bella Roma” by John Cacavas.  As a reminder of the beautiful setting of the John E. N. Howard Band with water all around, the band includes in its opening concert, Claire Grundman’s “Fantasy on American Sailing Songs,”  and the concludes with Henry Fillmore’s “The Klaxon” march.. 


Dr. Moely indicated the concerts are always free to the public and continue every Sunday throughout the summer through the Labor Day week end.  The band also performs double 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. holiday concerts on Wednesday, July 4, and on labor day, Monday, September 3.  



The past several years it has become a tradition to open and close the St. Joseph Municipal Band

season with a special late night “Big Band” program.


The band will perform many ‘big band’ favorites, written expressively for that idiom.”  Much of this type of music was very often heard right across the street on the Whitcomb terrace in the 30's as well as at the old Shadow Land Ballroom down on the beach. 


Dr. Moely also indicated that guest vocalist Brinden Brown will also be featured with the big band concert.  She will perform one of her favorites with the big band “As Time Goes By,” followed by “Summertime, “ from Porgy and Bess and will conclude with “Somewhere” from West Side Story, since the arrangement she sang earlier with the concert band did not include that song, one of her favorites, from West Side Story..  


Director Moely said, “this additional ‘big band’ performance means a lot of extra preparation for the musicians which have not performed together for nine months, but the audiences have thoroughly enjoy them and they help define the municipal band’s season at the John E. N. Howard Band shell, since the big band late concert begins the season on June 24 and signals the end of the season on Sunday, September 2, the evening before the final municipal band concerts on Labor Day, Monday, September 3.  Dr. Moely related “The deeply appreciative audiences have made the extra practice these talented musicians go through to perform these extra concerts worth the effort”. 


The community has enjoyed the added variety of this program and even though it involves a longer evening for those who attend the normal 7:30 p.m. Municipal Band Concert, everyone seems to want to remain and enjoy the music of the “Big Band” era, with some even dancing in the street; join them during the  9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. concert, Sunday, June 24. 


All are welcome to attend the ‘free’ added big band late night show, courtesy of St. Joseph Mayor Mary Goff, City Manager Frank Walsh, the City Commissioners and the St. Joseph taxpayers.  The late night concert concludes the busy opening day activities for the 2001 St. Joseph Municipal Band Season at the John E. N. Howard Band Shell.