The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


July 1, 2014

Stars, Stripes and Sousa!

LEWISBURG — Brilliant marches, magnificent overtures, and blazing solos are all on tap as the Penn Central Wind Band closes out the Union County Veterans Fourth of July Celebration with a Star-Spangled concert featuring the award-winning Penn Central Wind Band.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 2, in Lewisburg's Hufnagle Park. Rain location: Lewisburg Area High School auditorium.

William Kenny, the band's founder and conductor, said, "This will be our 16th annual Stars, Stripes, and Sousa concert. Top-flight musicians will be playing wonderfully historic and patriotic music in a picturesque park — all for an enthusiastic audience. It's a slice of Americana at its best."

Kenny said Sousa's name is synonymous with bands, and with concerts in the park, but that Sousa's concerts included much more than marches. He also programmed arrangements of popular music of the day, opera overtures, and virtuosic vocal and instrumental solos. "Bands transmitted all the great music of the 19th and early 20th centuries. There were few orchestras, so town bands and the great touring bands, like Sousa's, served up live music for the enlightenment and toe-tapping entertainment of audiences all over the country."

As in Sousa's day, the program will be varied. Kenny is especially pleased to be featuring a violin soloist, just as Sousa often did. Kenny's daughter, Grace Kenny, will perform an arrangement of gypsy airs, "Zigeunerweisen." Grace will be a senior at Lewisburg Area High School, where she is concertmaster of the school orchestra, tuba player in the band, and drum major for the marching band. She has been selected to perform with both the Pennsylvania All State Chorus and the All State Orchestra. "Grace was just a year old when we started doing these Sousa-style concerts," said Kenny. "I wonder if those early concerts somehow stuck with her." 

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