By Bill Robinson
Register News Writer
The rain didn’t start to fall until Thursday, but the Madison Singers and Madison Community Band trusted the weatherman and moved their second annual Fourth of July eve patriot concert indoors.
What the event lost in outdoor ambiance by moving from Eastern Kentucky University’s Ravine amphitheater, it made up with Brock Auditorium’s acoustics.
The venerable hall only enhanced the talent that nearly 40 singers and almost 50 instrumentalists have been cultivating since childhood.
Compared to the much larger EKU Center for the Arts that has supplanted it, Brock Auditorium feels rather intimate, and the 400 people who came to hear their neighbors sing and play left the hall only wishing the concert could have continued all evening.
Since the advent of records and radio, and now the Internet, our economy has not rewarded local musical talent as it should.
However, no iPad or or Youtube recording could convey the beauty or induce the joy that those who attended the concert enjoyed.
The two community groups provide an outlet for those who cultivate their musical talent in high school and college but have few opportunities to perform afterward. Richmond, a college town, obviously abounds with such people.
The band and choir also provide a delightful change of pace for those of us with an ear for music but not ability to perform it.
The concert also showcased a locally connected composer.
The band began the concert with “Army of the Potomac March” by Irvine native and 1939 Eastern Kentucky University graduate Cecil Karrick.
The retired high school band director, who worked many years in Warren County as well as Ohio and elsewhere, received an honorary doctorate from EKU in 1999. He performed with an Air Force band during World War II, according to information on the university’s website.
The piece performed Wednesday night was written for the 1976 American Revolution Bicentennial.
The singers and the band took turns performing, as their directors, Dr. John Stroube (band) and Dr. Richard Waters provided narration with the other was at the podium.
Each piece was preceded by a brief story of its composition.
I was chagrined to learn that Glenn Miller neither wrote nor arranged the version of “American Patrol” that was part of his band’s main repertoire as I stated in a concert preview. He wrote or arranged much of what his players performed, but not that one. It was composed for piano in 1885, arranged for band in 1891, according to Wikipedia. Miller used a “swing” arrangement done by Jerry Gray in 1941.
As the band played “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” audience members waved small American flags given to them at the door by members of the Madison County Democratic Women’s Club and the GOP Republican Ladies Club. The rival organizations put aside political differences for the collaboration.
Bill Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 624-6690.