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Concert band returns for season in the park

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La Crosse Concert Band
The La Crosse Concert Band returns to Riverside Park on June 8.

The La Crosse Concert Band will highlight the Civil War sesquicentennial and patriotic, classical, American and John Philip Sousa music during its 2011 summer season of Wednesday night concerts in Riverside Park.

The band usually doesn’t play in the park during Riverfest, but this year will perform during the Fourth of July week celebration in Riverside Park. The June 30 concert, conducted by Jeff Krauklis, is a tribute to Operation Homefront and Freedom Honor Flights.

The concert features American patriotic music, “Armed Forces Salute,” “Journal for a Soldier” and “Fanfare for the Common Man” by Aaron Copland.

“It’s great to be at Riverfest this year,” said Chris Werner, La Crosse Central High School Band director, who will conduct three La Crosse Concert Band concerts.

The season opens June 8, with the La Crosse Concert Band paying tribute to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

Civil War re-enactors and a Civil War-style brass band will play, and violinist Joni Welda will perform “Ashokan Farewell.” Hank Poehling will narrate “A Lincoln Address.”

The band, directed by Alex Vaver, will play Civil War selections associated with both the North and South.

“It’s a very strong season, and talk about diverse,” Werner said. “Musicians are fired up about this season. Every year, the band is getting stronger and stronger, and the audiences are getting larger and larger.”

The fifth annual “Concert Hall Spectacular” at Viterbo University is usually held during Riverfest week but this time will end the season on Aug. 3. The concert, directed by Vaver, features large works and instrumental soloists.

Guest artists include Mary Tollefson, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse piano faculty member, performing “Spellbound Concerto” and Mary Beth Hensel playing Claude Debussy’s “The Girl With The Flaxen Hair.” Ballet dancers from Misty’s Dance Unlimited also will perform at the concert.

Vaver conducts another concert on June 22 dedicated to a wide variety of marches.

Werner conducts a homage to vocals, vocal soloists and timeless melodies at the June 15 concert. Kim Shively is the vocalist, and the band will play “Vocalise” by Sergei Rachmaninoff, a medley from the TV show “Glee,” and a set of Cole Porter songs.

At the July 13 concert, Werner conducts the band in American music including “The American Dream,” “American Folk Rhapsody,” “The Stars and Stripes Forever” and highlights from “The Music Man.”

Werner conducts the July 20 concert, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” a tribute to people’s fantasies and dreams. The band will hold a Facebook conducting competition, with the winner conducting a piece at the concert.

The program includes “Imagine” by John Lennon, “1941” by John Williams, “Scotland the Brave,” and a medley from the film “Star Trek.” Central High School secretaries will perform Leroy Anderson’s “The Typewriter.”

Tammy Fisher conducts the July 27 concert, “Sousa Palooza,” with several Sousa marches and the “1812 Overture.”

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