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It’s official: ‘Band-O-Rama Day’ is Saturday

The Archuleta County Commissioners have proclaimed Saturday, March 24, as “Band-O-Rama Day” in Archuleta County.

Anyone who has ever played in a band, marched to the sounds of a band, or sat in a park or an auditorium and listened to a band, knows that there is something magical that stirs in our soul at the sounds of instruments powered by human breath.

Perhaps it has been a long time since you have enjoyed such an experience. This Saturday, March 24, at 7 p.m., in the high school auditorium, you will have the opportunity to relive the magic as the sounds of Music Boosters’ new Pagosa Springs Symphonic Band, joined by our local school bands and other special guest musicians, presents Band-O-Rama.

Band-O-Rama is a festival of bands and choirs that includes the new Pagosa Springs Symphonic Band, the high school concert and jazz bands, the middle school band, along with special presentations from the new brass ensemble Four Geezers and a Chick, the Divertimento string quartet, plus members of the high school choir and community choir. Band-O-Rama represents some of the most impressive musical talents, young and old, to be found in Pagosa Springs.

The program will begin with the sound of a bugle played by Karen Messikapp, playing “The Call to the Colors.” Bugles look like the modern cornet, but have no valves to press in order to play the notes. The changes of pitch come from the control of the lips on the mouthpiece of the instrument itself. Consequently, the bugle has been a source of laughter and mockery as the result of those who play the instrument badly. Karen Messikapp is not one who will elicit laughter. Rather, her rendition will bring tears of pride to the eyes as Veterans present the flag.

The presentation of the colors will be followed by a playing of the “Star Spangled Banner.” The national anthem will be played with the dignity and strength it deserves without attempts to make it “current” by adding jazz embellishments. A sung version of the Pledge of Allegiance will be rendered by members of the high school concert choir and the Pagosa Springs Community Choir who will be singing in “surround sound” formation enveloping the aisles of the auditorium. If by this time national pride has not been adequately stirred, the John Philip Sousa march, “Semper Fidelis,” played by the PSSB, will surely put everyone in the mood for a delightful evening of exciting band music.

Band-O-Rama will continue with sounds of our American musical heritage that includes music played by PSSB, the high school concert and jazz bands, along with the big band music of Glen Miller, played by Four Geezers and a Chick. This ensemble is made up of “Geezers” Larry Elginer and Larry Baisdon on trumpet, Dave Krueger on tuba and Dan Burch on trombone, with “Chick” D’Ann Artis on french horn. They will be playing music from “The Glen Miller Songbook” that includes a medley of memorable big band dance tunes.

The Pagosa Springs Middle School Band under the direction of Shawna Carosello will play “Thunder Bay Legend” by David Shaffer and “Bridgeview Overture” by Ed Huckeby. This band has a total of 58 members, all aspiring to master their instruments and graduate to become a part of the high school concert and jazz bands.

“It is so exciting to see this many young students picking up instruments and learning to play,” says Bill Gottschalk, one of the PSSB directors. “It is for these kids that Band-O-Rama was formed. We want to promote bands in the schools, to help students learn the joys of music through playing instruments, and assure our nation that the sounds of band music will never be lost as a part of our American culture,” he said.

The Pagosa Springs High School Band, under the direction of Dan Burch, will remind us of the melting pot of cultures that America embraces with music entitled “Hot Latin,” a medley by Roland Barrett, while the jazz band will play foot-tapping dance music by Herbie Hancock, Neal Hefti, Victor Lopez, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen.

Included in the proclamation made by the county commissioners that will be read in full at the performance, is the following:

“Whereas music, the universal language of peace, is one of the great arts and an outstanding feature of our culture, and the study of music is basic to the complete education, engaging students in individual and group activity, and developing creativity, problem-solving and critical and evaluative skills; and music education helps students acquire skills in production and performance of music, as well as an understanding of history and culture.

Now therefore, We the Members of the County Board of Commissioners of Archuleta County, proclaim Saturday, March 24, 2012 to be ‘Band-O-Rama Day’ in the entire of Archuleta County, and urge all citizens to show your support by attending this noteworthy event.”

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