In With A Bang

There are certain things audiences expect from a Fourth of July band concert. Yes, the W.D. Packard Concert Band will play plenty of patriotic music tonight at the south lawn band shell of Packard Music Hall. And performing Peter Tchaikovsky’s ”1812 Overture” near the end of the evening is a tradition the band has no intention of changing.

But that doesn’t mean the band will be doing the same old thing to celebrate Independence Day.

Tonight’s program will be filled with new songs and new arrangements of old favorites, according to Thomas Groth, executive director of the band.

”Everything we do, when I pick the program or when (conductor) Steve (Gage) does, we revert back to W.D. Packard’s wish to provide entertainment and edification for the people of Warren,” Groth said. ”We want it to be both entertaining and audience friendly and maybe in some way educating people to new tunes and new arrangements that come out.

”We try to honor his wishes, what he would want if he were alive today. That really is our guiding principle.”

Robert W. Smith’s ”American Flourish” is something the band never has played before, Groth said. New arrangements featuring the music of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong will be performed, and vocalist Helen Welch will be singing a new arrangement of the Irving Berlin standard ”God Bless America.”

Groth said he wanted a program that featured patriotic and military songs that people expect on the Fourth of July as well as quintessentially American works, like those Ellington and Armstrong medley or Bobby Troup’s ”Route 66,” which celebrates the cross-country highway.

”Route 66” will showcase tenor saxophone player Daniel Carioti, who serves as director of the Big Band Sound of Packard and the Packard Dixieland Band in addition to playing in the full concert band. He teaches instrumental music in Warren City Schools and previously was director of bands at Brookfield High School.

In addition to ”God Bless America,” Welch will sing ”On a Wonderful Day Like Today,” ”My Foolish Heart,” ”If My Friends Could See Me Now,” ”Zing Went the Strings of My Heart” and The Beatles’ ”Can’t Buy Me Love.”

Other selections on the program conducted by Gage will include John O’Neill’s ”Fourth of July Polka,” Edwin Frank Goldman’s ”On Parade” march, an Armed Forces salute, Al Jacobs’ and Don Raye’s ”This Is My Country” and a finale with John Philip Sousa’s ”The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Following the music will be a fireworks display created by Zambelli Fireworks. Groth said the fireworks show will run about 25 minutes long.

”They’ve been very good with us the last few years giving us the same type of show for the same amount of money,” Groth said. ”They’ve been very good to us in the band and the people of Warren.”