Summer concerts kick off tonight; Great music, free ice cream coming to Bandshell Park

Published 9:49 am Wednesday, June 15, 2016

By Roger Boughton

Guest Columnist

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 at 7 p.m. on three Wednesday evenings — June 15, June 29 and July 6 — 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. A special jazz concert will be held at the Hormel Historic Home at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 1. These are concerts that you won’t want to miss.

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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 as the band begins to play. There will be a special concert at 8:30 p.m. on Monday, July 4, featuring the Austin Community Band along with 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 “Star Wars,” selections from “Wicked” and the spirited “Minnesota March” by John Philip Sousa. The night will come alive under the stars with the Harlem Rag 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 United States of America Star Spangled Banner. As the sun begins to dip below the roof tops and trees our souls will be nourished and uplifted by listening to the music of Henry Mancini and the Concert Band Medley. Join us for an evening of great music.

These four special evenings of great music at the band shell will be provided by over fifty area musicians. They have been practicing every Tuesday evening since early April. They come from all walks of life and represent ages from the early teens into the late seventy’s. 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 band shell at 8:30 p.m. just prior to the big fireworks display. Thanks to our community leaders and the wonderful citizens of Austin small town America at its’ best is on display! Bring your lawn chair and come spend an evening with the Austin 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 Austin City Council.