News Column

Midlanders of all ages play together in community band

July 4, 2013

YellowBrix

July 04--Musicians from age 14 to 88 will take to the Centennial Plaza stage July 4 as members of the Star-Spangled Salute Community Band.

After three rehearsals to learn the music and prepare, musicians will put on an hour-long concert that includes songs like "National Emblem," "The Blue and the Gray," "God Bless the USA," "Ballad of the Green Berets," "Armed Forces Salute," "This Is My Country" and "Stars and Stripes Forever."

"I just love music and this has been the best experience ever," said Joe Moore, 88, who started playing cornet again about three years ago.

"I'd been away from it so long that I couldn't even blubber on it at first," said Moore, who hadn't played regularly since his freshman year of college.

A member of the Midland Community Symphonic Band, Moore said he enjoys getting to play with others.

As the youngest member of the band, Thalia Ramos, 14, said she's already benefited from playing with other musicians.

A fellow oboist was able to show her a fingering trick she didn't know to make playing one of the pieces a bit easier, she said.

Music is a passion for Thalia, who also plays the violin, guitar, piano and sings. Her older sister, Briana, plays cornet and is a band officer at Lee High School. The pair spend quite a bit of spare time at the band hall in the summer volunteering and completing tasks for marching season.

"I knew I wasn't going anywhere for the Fourth of July so I figured this would be something fun to do, and it has been," Thalia said.

A huge fan of march music, Moore said he enjoys all of the pieces the band will be playing today.

"This has been fun with the young people like (Thalia) and the old codgers like me, all playing together," Moore said of his involvement in the community band.

The Star-Spangled Salute is a free, communitywide Fourth of July celebration and fireworks show. It is presented by the Midland Chamber of Commerce at Centennial Plaza.

"This is a family event, and we're trying to promote getting families to come out and celebrate the nation's independence and Midland," said Tracy Bacon, chairwoman of the annual Star-Spangled Salute. "By getting some of the high school students, alums and community musicians to put together a patriotic show, we're bringing another layer to the family-friendly event."

Star-Spangled Salute gates open at 6 p.m. with community band performances beginning at 7:15 p.m., Bacon said.

A 90-minute variety show produced by Lubbock-based Don Caldwell Productions will begin at 8:30 p.m. and precedes the 20-minute fireworks show, which will be synchronized with live music, Bacon said.

"The music will kick off at 7:15 p.m., but I sure wouldn't wait to get there," Bacon said. "Last year we had people lined up and down all the streets that intersect into Centennial Plaza, and conservative estimates, (we) believe more than 12,000 people attended."

Earlier in the day will be the annual children's parade, which will begin at 10 a.m. Registration is at 9 a.m. in Centennial Plaza. The parade will move through the downtown streets.

For more information about joining the community band and the Star-Spangled Salute, visit www.fourthinmidland.com or call the Midland Chamber of Commerce at 683-3381.

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(c)2013 the Midland Reporter-Telegram (Midland, Texas)

Visit the Midland Reporter-Telegram (Midland, Texas) at www.mywesttexas.com

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