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June 21, 2012

Terre Haute Community Band calling in the clowns

TERRE HAUTE — It’s time to call in the clowns.

“Circus Days, ” is a summer concert event for children of all ages, takes the stage Saturday at Fairbanks Park, as the Terre Haute Community Band will present an evening of fun and circus music.

Teen volunteers from the Vigo County Public Library will be on hand to dish out free popcorn and present the young members of the audience with a book and a clownish gift.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. but the audience is encouraged to come early to get a good location, enjoy the popcorn and meet the ringmaster.

Admission is free. In the event of rain the concert will be in the YMCA building within the park grounds.

“Circus Time,” a suite for band, offers the ringmaster, Terre Haute Community Band’s own David Brinson, the opportunity to “introduce” the circus acts and the audience will meet the acrobats, trapeze artists and clowns,  then hear the chariot races and grand finale. The “Carnival of the Animals” by Camille Saint-Saens provides the Royal March of the Lions, the Elephant, Fossils and a Finale.

Have you ever heard a “screamer”? It may not be what you expect; screamers are marches written especially to get the audience excited before the clowns and animals parade through the circus tent. They are also played much faster than military marches — as much as 130 to 160 beats per minute. Fred Jewell, an Indiana composer from Worthington, famous for writing circus marches, wrote “The Screamer.”

Karl King was a bandmaster for Barnum & Bailey’s Circus in 1917 and later organized and conducted the Fort Dodge, Iowa, municipal band. King wrote “Barnum & Bailey’s Favorite” in 1913 when he was only 22 years old. In a 1980 world music survey, this march ranked fourth in the top 140 marches.

“When You Wish Upon a Star” is from Walt Disney’s 1940 adaptation of the story of Pinocchio. It was sung in the movie by the character of Jiminy Cricket and has since become the representative song of the Walt Disney Co. At the time “The Wizard of Oz” was being filmed, the producers gave composer Harold Arlen and lyricist E.Y. Harburg just two months to do the entire score for the film. Arlen wanted a melodic ballad to balance the lively “lemon drop” songs and “Over the Rainbow” was the result.

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