Ice cream, music and merriment coming to the park

Published 9:58 am Tuesday, June 10, 2014

By Roger Boughton

Guest Columnist

Spend an evening at the Bandshell Park this summer listening to good music and enjoying free ice cream.

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Summer reminds me of picnics in the park, hot dogs on the grill, parades on the Fourth of July and the magic of music at the park. At 7 p.m. on three Wednesday evenings — June 11, June 25 and July 9 — the community of Austin will have the wonderful opportunity to gather at the band shell and listen to great music and enjoy free ice cream. Once the ice cream is gone it is gone.

Across the wide open span of grass at the park there will be lawn chairs, blankets, food items, dogs on leashes and children playing. The summer breeze will be unfurling the American flag for all to view. There will be a special Friday, July 4, concert featuring the Community Band at 8:30 p.m. and a wonderful fireworks display that will follow the Fourth of July concert.

The crowd will begin to quiet down as the band comes to attention. Brian Koser, the maestro will lift his baton and the music will begin to flow. There will be old favorites like “The Way We Were,” highlights from “Oliver” and the spirited “The Gallant Seventh” by John Philip Sousa. The night will come alive under the stars with the march “Tally-ho” which will be played with deep emotion. Brian Koser, the conductor, will take us through time and introduce us to the music of the great movie themes and at the same moment celebrate the summer with spirited marches. The evening program always opens with the band playing the “Star Spangled Banner.” As the sun begins to dip below the roof tops our souls will be nourished and uplifted by listening to the music of Benny Goodman, the King of Swing. Join us for an evening of great music.

These four special evenings of great music at the band shell will be provided by more than 45 area musicians. They have practiced every Tuesday evening since April. They come from all walks of life and represent ages from 15 into the late 70s. Their skill levels are as varied as their ages. However, they all have one thing in common — they love to play great music and entertain home town audiences.

The summer band concert season will be highlighted on July 4 when the Community Band participates in the July 4 parade at 11 a.m. and concludes the day’s activity by presenting a concert at the city bandshell at 8:30 p.m. just prior to the big fireworks display. Thanks to our community leaders, small town America at its best is on display. Bring your lawn chair and come spend an evening with the Community Band and enjoy some ice cream. The ice cream is cold and the music is hot!

The summer band concerts are sponsored by the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council, the Austin Area Foundation, the Austin Public Schools and the City of Austin through the Park and Recreation Department and City Council.