Conway Community Band to play patriotic program today

By Tammy Keith Published July 3, 2014 at 9:20 a.m.
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Nick Hillemann/Contributing Photographer

Brantley Douglas directs a piece Monday night at a rehearsal of the Conway Community Band, made up of musicians from central Arkansas. The group will perform its Fourth of July program at 7:30 p.m. today in Simon Park on Front Street in downtown Conway. The 106th Army Band Five Star Brass Quintet will make a special appearance.

The Conway Community Band’s final concert of the season, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. today in Simon Park, will have a little extra spark.

The 106th Army Band Five Star Brass Quintet will be the special guests at the patriotic-themed concert on Front Street in downtown Conway, said Ricky Brooks, co-director of the community band.

“They’re very good and play a lot of good stuff, and it’s perfect for our patriotic concert to have them come in and play,” Brooks said. “The brass quintet brings their own music. They played last year, too.”

Tonight’s program includes many familiar, toe-tapping, flag-waving pieces.

“We have a great lineup,” Brooks said.

“We’re doing some medleys. … One of them is called ‘American Visions’ — and it has ‘Yankee Doodle,’ ‘Shenandoah,’ ‘America the Beautiful,’ things like that,” he said.

“We’re doing another piece called ‘The Good Old USA,’” he said. Selections in that work include classics “of a bygone era” from the American musical stage — “The Surrey With a Fringe on Top,” “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “Bicycle Built for Two” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”

That’s not all.

“We’re doing one that’s pretty neat called ‘American River Songs,’ music from when the rivers and waterways used to be the lifelines of the growing country,” he said.

Songs in that medley include “Across the Wide Missouri” and “Bambula,” a Cajun song, he said.

Brooks said no Fourth of July concert would be complete without a few marches, so the band will perform four, including “Semper Fidelis,” the official march of the Marine Corps, and “Liberty Bell.”

The final number will be the rousing “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Band member Van Lamar of Conway, who plays trumpet, said the concert is a fun change of pace.

“It is one of the favorites that we do in our concert series because this is the concert where we bring in the National Guard brass quintet,” Lamar said. He called the quintet “exciting,” and he said some members of the quintet have played in the community band.

The quintet includes Traci Jernigan and Cody Jernigan, both of Heber Springs; Tony Luzzi of Searcy; David Hixson of Lonoke; and Dan Karp of North Little Rock.

Brooks said attendees are encouraged to bring chairs or a blanket and wear red, white and blue.

“It’ll be a total patriotic concert,” he said. “We’ll try to hold it to an hour and 15 minutes.”

Brooks said the Conway Community Band, with co-director Tim Cunningham, was organized five years ago and plays four concerts a season. Brantley Douglas and Russell Langston will also conduct pieces in tonight’s concert.

“We already have done three concerts; this is the last one of our 2014 season,” Brooks said.

“We always have good crowds at Simon Park,” he said.

He’s hoping the band goes out with a bang.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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