News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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May 8, 2014

Brazil Concert Band prepares for summer season

The Brazil Concert Band will begin its 157th year of continuous musical operations at 7 p.m. Tuesday with its first rehearsal in the Northview High School band room.

The second rehearsal is set for 7 p.m. May 20 in Northview with the rest of the season at Forest Park in Brazil.

Forest Park concerts begin at 8 p.m. June 1 and continue through Aug. 24 in the park band shell. Only the June 29 and Aug. 24 shows will begin at 7:30.

In case of rain, performances will take place in the park pavilion.

The BCB invites interested Wabash Valley musicians to join the traditions and fun by attending the first rehearsal.

Interested musicians can contact band director Matthew S. Huber at 812-448-3420 or mmjjhuber@aol.com for details.

Requirements include being at least a freshman in high school, owning one’s band instrument and committing to the BCB’s busy musical schedule of 13 consecutive Sunday evening concerts, the Tuesday evening rehearsals and two special event performances.

Organized in 1858, the BCB was then known as the Brazil Cornet Band, an all-brass band, until 1895, when woodwinds became standard in bands as introduced nationwide by composer-conductors Patrick Gilmore and John Philip Sousa.

With the addition of piccolos, flutes, clarinets, saxophones and double reed instruments, the name Brazil Concert Band evolved.

During its first year of existence, the BCB was hired to play in Illinois for one of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates and during the Civil War, the younger men of the band enlisted together and served in the Union Army as musicians, medics and infantry.

With the establishment of Forest Park in 1920, the Brazil Concert began its long standing engagements and still is sponsored by the Brazil Parks and Recreation Board.

During World War II, women joined the ranks of the BCB and today’s band is 50-50 male and female.

The 208 personalized band shell benches project was the goal of George Kumpf.

There are 75 musicians in today’s Brazil Concert Band, which earned the Sudler Silver Scroll for Historic American Bands in 2006 through the John Philip Sousa foundation. Director Huber is in his 33rd year as conductor of the BCB, having served longer than all previous leaders. Darlene Shepard is band president and chief librarian, Cathy Thompson is secretary treasurer, and Melanie Huber is stage manager.

The BCB has recorded twice with the compact discs “The Jewell of the Wabash” and “The Brazil Special” with sales throughout the world.

The Brazil Concert Band features band music ranging from light classics, marches, waltzes and overtures to Broadway favorites, Big Band era hits and music from movies and popular culture.

The BCB and the musicians of the Jackson Township Community Band are the custodians of the stock music by Indiana composer Fred Jewell thanks to Fred Jewell Jr. The senior Jewell played in the BCB early in the 20th century and his son performed with both bands the last 20 years of his life.

Both bands sponsored the Fred Jewell Historic Maker in Worthington, Ind., and have played in Washington, D.C., Disney World, New York City, New Orleans, Wisconsin Dells and Memphis, Tenn.

Aside from the 13 Sunday concerts, the BCB will also play for the Clay County Court House Centennial on Sept. 6 and perform its annual fall concert Nov. 23 in the First Baptist Church in Terre Haute.

The BCB has a webpage at brazilconcertband.org and “like” it on Facebook for stories, photos and updates.

 

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