We don't often time our visits to Kansas during June and July but there's an added bonus when we do. During those months the City Band performs a free concert in the park on Thursday nights and we make a point to attend.
We could do it out of nostalgia. The Thursday night concerts have been going on for years and I attended my share of them growing up. Generally speaking, I was more interested in the nearby playground equipment or chasing lightning bugs than the program but an appreciation for music was instilled in me from lots of different sources, including these concerts.
Or we could do it out of that love for music. There's something about the outdoor setting that makes the music that much sweeter. The City Band is a mix of musicians from all walks of life and all ages too. The pay isn't significant but it's some extra money for high school and college students and it's an opportunity for people who love to play but didn't make a career out of music.
But mostly we do it because my brother John is the conductor...well, at least for part of the summer series. When he isn't conducting, he plays in the band. And so does my sister-in-law Barbara. Despite all the names of classical composers that line the band shell, these are much more "pops" concerts with a mix of marches, show tunes and a few contemporary tunes thrown in for good measure. Music from South Pacific was on the list for the night and I found myself singing along to the medley of familiar songs.
We got a double-dose of musical entertainment on this night as the City Band performed a nice assortment of music and then became part of the audience while the Kansas Army National Guard Band took the stage. That's Barb, Wayne and John enjoying the second part of the concert.
It seemed a little odd to watch a band perform in boots and camouflage but it made their patriotic numbers all that much more inspiring. Like the City Band, they had a nice mix of music and their Broadway offering was from West Side Story. But they also had three band members who sang, adding some country songs to the program. You can see the guitar behind the kettle drums and there's a keyboard next to it...not necessarily things I expected to see from this band.
The day had been hot but cooled down nicely and it was pleasant sitting under the trees. I left inspired to work the Thursday night concerts in Pensacola into our schedule before summer is out. We won't know the conductor and I doubt the band will wear boots, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear a Broadway tune or two...and that would be just fine with me.