Community kicking off season

Published 7:07 am Sunday, May 15, 2016

By Roger Boughton

The Austin Community Band kicks of another season at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15. And of course free ice cream is handed out at the concert.

Brian Koser has been the director off and on for the past 22 years and under his direction the band has expanded to about 50 members from all walks of life and experience.



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“The idea of resurrecting a tradition, than keeping that tradition alive, is both rewarding and challenging,” he said.

Brian comes to the stage with a wealth of experience.  He received his bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, masters from Northwestern University School of Music and advanced course work from the University Of Minnesota School Of Music. He has released many CDs with one of the most recent being “Christmas Cameos” and he founded the Austin Community Band Jazz Ensemble in 1988.

Brian goes on to say that, “Beyond the thrill of creating music and piecing everything together, the joy for me comes from being able to provide artistic enrichment for both our ensemble members and the Austin community at large.

Our policy of ‘all are welcome’ provides a great deal of satisfaction, knowing that we offer this spring/summer musical outlet to folks of all ages and skill levels.”

At the same time, there is an expectation by some, that we perform quality “art repertoire,” so we sprinkle in some of the great classic overtures, well-known band standards, and challenging “new compositions” of the day.  All of the music we perform remains accessible and relateable.”

“Knowing that the concerts are in the early evening outdoors and that most people like to hear familiar and relatable material, we make it a point to include a number of standard marches, Broadway show tune selections, familiar pop music, patriotic numbers for the fourth, and other recognizable melodies in our concerts,” Brian said.

The audience would agree as several thousand attend the Fourth of July evening concert at Bandshell Park. The evening ends with a fireworks display.

The 2016 concert season includes five concerts beginning June 15  and the evenings of  June 29, July 1, July 4 and July 6.

Our July 1 and 6 concerts feature the Jazz Band.  The Fourth of July concert is our large capstone event beginning around 8:30 p.m. at Bandshell Park followed by the fireworks. Your favorite lawn chair is a prerequisite for an evening of music under the stars.

Brian always has his mind on the future and says to all who will listen that, “as we move forward and plan for future seasons to come, we hope to provide more programming variety in the form of guest soloists and conductors. We also plan to invite community vocalists to perform with us. We have a wealth of talent right here in our own community. The Austin Community Band represents a true community endeavor in every way.”

A special thanks to the city of Austin, Austin Area Foundation and the Southeast Minnesota Arts Council for their generous contribution to making music come alive in the summer.

A special thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Without the support of the above funders the Austin Community Band could not continue. See you at Bandshell Park at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 15.

Bring a lawn chair and we’ll have some ice cream available and great music.