What: 1510th free performance of the Racine Concert Band
When: 7 p.m. Sunday, August 14
Where: Racine Zoo, 2131 N. Main St.
To note: Zoo gates on Walton Avenue and Augusta Street open at 6:30 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.
RACINE — As the Racine Concert Band continues to celebrate its historic 100th season, the band welcomes guest vocalist Darlene Kelsey and solo flute Beth Kapralian.
People also read…
The principal flautist of the group, Kapralian has been a member of the Racine Concert Band since 1994 and is a part-time elementary music teacher for the Racine Unified Schools. She will perform Stephen Bulla’s “Rhapsody for Flute” on the Sunday evening program.
She purchased this piece for the group and previously performed it as a soloist in 2016.
“I really like the way it sounds,” Kapralian said.
Kelsey – making her second appearance as a guest artist with the group – is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute and has performed with the Florentine Opera of Milwaukee, the Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Grant Park Chorus and as a as a recitalist at the University of Chicago. She holds a master’s degree in voice after earning a diploma in oboe performance.
She teaches at Forrestal Elementary School in North Chicago, Illinois.
She will sing four pieces on Sunday evening: “The Kiss”, a vocal waltz by Italian composer Luigi Arditi; Sverre Elsmo’s “Kringleville Polka”; “I Feel a Song Coming” by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields; and the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein classic “Getting to Know You” from the 1951 Broadway hit “The King & I.”
”Kringleville Polka” was composed in 1957 by Racine resident Elsmo, honoring the town’s signature.
100 years strong
Mark Eichner – who received an honor from the band at his August 7 concert to celebrate his 20th season as musical director – will lead the program.
This is the band’s last outdoor concert on Sunday night 2022, and Eichner said the band has much to be proud of as they celebrate their centenary.
“The group is not just surviving, but thriving in a difficult and profoundly changed environment,” he said. “I am struck by the many ways the band has evolved over the past 20 years. If we had continued to behave as we did in 2002, we would have been bankrupt and wiped off the map a long time ago.
“Instead, we are well positioned to have a long-term view of what the Racine Concert Band can be in its second century.”
Mozart and Sousa
The Sunday evening program also includes:
- “The King’s March” by Richard Strauss.
- Overture to “Les Petits Riens” by WA Mozart.
- “The Fantastic Toy Shop”, a ballet suite which debuted in London in 1919. Ottorino Respighi wrote the music based on piano pieces by Gioachino Rossini.
- “El Albanico” by Alfredo Javaloyes.
- “Spiritual” by Don Gillis.
- “Rollo walks” by David Maslanka. The piece is described as “an ironic favourite” and was inspired by Rollo, a character created by composer Charles Ives to represent ultra-conservative musical tastes.
- Highlights from the Broadway musical ‘My Fair Lady’ by Alan Lerner and Freerick Loewe.
- Walk “The Thunderer” by John Philip Sousa.
Don Rosen, a professional broadcaster for 50 years, is the concert’s emcee.
Although the band’s summer season ends Sunday night, the 100th anniversary celebration continues with a concert on November 1 at Racine’s Washington Park High School.
“I’m super excited about the last centennial concert,” Eichner said.
The program continues the group’s “Rooted in Racine” concerts.
“Our new tradition features a guest solo artist who developed their musical skills in our area,” Eichner explained. “Washington Park and UW-Parkside alum Bill Nelson will lead a rendition of the “Tenor Saxophone Concerto” by American Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Ward.
“It will be a great pleasure to collaborate with Will Bill again and also to conduct composer Robert Ward’s only group work not previously performed by the band.”
The November program also includes the Racine Concert Band’s third premiere of the year: an orchestral version of “Melodia” from Daron Hagen’s “Concerto for Brass Quintet”.
A native of Brookfield, Hagen “moved to New York before moving to Wisconsin,” Eichner said. “Nevertheless, our musical paths crossed several times, and Daron allowed me to do the band’s version and lead the first.”
“Although I have done many arrangements for the band,” Eichner added, “I have never arranged music for a living composer, who will no doubt take an interest in the outcome of the project.”