July 16 and 17

Good afternoon: It is warm outside, but not as “hot” as our band.

Our instrumental soloist this past week was John Gorecki with his clarinet. He is the music director at Sangamon Valley High School, directing bands and choirs and, obviously, staying very busy during the school year.

John played music from The Terminal and then HIS VERY OWN arrangement of a jazzy blues number Little Suede Shoes. FANTASTIC!!!

Our soloist was the guy with the mellow, easy-to-listen to voice, Chris Riley. Chris was a park singer for some time in the late 80’s and now he isa CPA andworks at ADM. His Manilow, Sinatra, Sedaka medleys were GREAT....but I LOVED “When I Fall in Love”.  SIGH! Thanks for joining us, Chris.

Monday night was “interesting” to say the least. Storm? No storm. Perhaps storm?  NAH! Moving EAST !   Oh, dear, it’s coming right towards us, so let’s get as much of the program in as we can!!  Jim Culbertson was calm as usual, flipping those band and vocal numbers around with wild abandon!!!!!!!! BUT IT WORKED!  When the lightening appeared, we had MOST of the show in....and we quickly sent the audience home. PHEW!

On to next week.  Our instrumental soloist is Joe Tiemann from the trombone section. Joe has a Master’s degree in trombone performance and served as as a trombonist in the United State Marine Corps. He now performs with symphonies and pit orchestras among other things. 

Our vocalist is Molly Shade!!!! Pretty Molly has been singing with the muni band for 32 years, and we are always happy when she is with us. She is an astute performer who really know howto sell a song! She will be singing the music from the musicals Gigi ,Mary Poppins and Finian’s Rainbow.  Molly has held leads in Theatre 7 productions like “Oliver” and “Nunsense” and Cabaret. She also is a pro at Cabaret performances. One is coming up August 17, so be sure to check it out!

....and the band marches on......some great music coming up again for next week.

Sunday: 6:00 –7:00 Nelson Park Big Pavilion

Monday: Under the stars at Downtown Central Park 7:00 – 9:00

AND!!! Next week we are continuing on the second part of The Decatur Municipal Band World Tour. We are heading out to Red Tail Run Golf Course  on Wednesday (please try to join us for this....bring your chairs)  It will be in the Pavilion.

Muni Band World Tour Concert

Date: Wednesday, July 19th

Time: 7:00- 8:00

Vocalist: Brenna Pfeiffer

July 2 and July 3 (4th of July Celebration)

How is it possible to have such incredible weather the end of JUNE?????  Sunday evening in Nelson Park was beautiful. Monday, TOO!  Well, at least until the rain clouds drifted in and we had to do an hour program and then leave fast because of the rain! We had a GREAT enthusiastic crowd for the Monday concert!

Our instrumental soloist was Mike McDonald. He played Vaxuosity and then was joined by Philip Tsigolaroff and Chris Strong to play Leroy Anderson’s “Bugler’s Holiday”. They and the band did a fantastic job on my favorite Leroy Anderson piece. 

Our soloist this week was the ever-powerful Zach Garrett with the tremendous voice!  . His “Lennon/McCartney Portrait was really special. Also his Tribute to Harold Arlen! (These were on Sunday evening. Harold Arlen wrote songs you know ( like all of the music for The Wizard of Oz).  On Monday night ( because we had to shorten things) Zach sang a medley of Gospel favorites like “Peace in the Valley” and the music of Andrew Lloyd Weber which was beyond WORDS it was so wonderful!  THAT was obviously an audience favorite.  Zach is everywhere around Decatur performing and we are always glad when he joins us!

When we went on “The Muni band World Tour” on Wednesday, we played at the Overlook Golf course, and the band was nestled in a corn bin.  It created a wonderful sound! That was so much fun, and I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm for how GREAT the band sounded.

Our musicians individually are talented and dedicated and they love playingmusic....and together they make one incredible BAND!!!! Then, throw in Jim Culbertson and it all works!

Moving on:  Next week is our Fourth of July Celebration.

Our Vocalist is the ever-so-talented Ann Borders who has taught at Millikin for 17 years so far. Besides singing with us this weekend, she will singing with the Millikin/Decatur symphony orchestra fortheir Labor Day Concert in Central Park on September 4th at 6:00.  Put that on your calendars!

Ann will be carrying a BIG load for the Muni this weekend. From “Irving Berlin’s America” to John Williams “America...The Dream Goes on.”... to the Music of George M. Cohan to “the Battle Hymn of the Republic”, “God Bless America”  and more, her voice will light up our concerts. If you have heard Ann Borders sing anything, you know exactly what I am talking about.

Our band has some awesome music for you, especially John Philip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever”.  AND, the band also plays the music of all the branches of service for our Armed Services Salute and we salute our veterans!!!!!!

Oh, I do so love this patriotic concert. LET FREEDOM RING!!!

Hope you can wear your red, white and blue and join us:

Sunday, Fairview Park 6:00 – 7:00 rain or shine

Monday night Central Park 7:00 – 9:00 under the stars!   

As always, thanks for your continuing support. We appreciate it!


Emcee Shirley

Sunday June 25 and Monday June 26

Good afternoon. A QUICK reminder. The muni band  will be playing at the Overlook Adventure Golf Course at Nelson Park tomorrow evening (Wednesday the 21st) from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. Bring your folding chairs and join us. Andrea Pope will be our vocalist. Like Jim Culbertson said “A HUGE CONCERT!!!”
Sunday concert in the park was GREAT!!!!! WHAT WONDERFUL MUSIC for our International Review theme this week.
Monday in Central Park.....what a CROWD!!!!!! More super international music . You KNOW how good our band is week after week.
Steve Schepper and two other muni horns ( Steve Craven and Mike Pryczyski) played an Alpine Fantasy....BRAVO.
And then  Brenna Pfeifer with the raspberry hair and the amazing voice sang the haunting music of Miss Saigon.... and when she sang “Moon River”.....just ....wow! We dedicated that tune to a couple who had celebrated their 70th anniversary!
Then intermission........WHAT HAPPENED??????? We went from beautiful sky to dark clouds that literally DUMPED on the audience, the band and everyone near us!!!!! WHERE DID THAT COME FROM????? Oh, well, it’s summer in the park.
Next week’s soloist is Mike McDonald.  He was gone for a year but he and his trumpet CAME BACK HOME and we are glad.  Mike will play a piece and then be joined by the muni trumpets for a favorite... Bugler’s Holiday.
The vocalist will be Zach Garrett. Zach will sing the music of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, a medley of hymn tunes like “Amazing Grace”, and “There Will Be Peace in the Valley”. This is a beautiful medley,and I know you will enjoy it. Zach will also sing a medley of Andrew Lloyd Weber. There is a composer named Harold Arlen and you may THINK you haven’t heard any of his music, but I’ll bet you have. Zach will be singing a tribute to Harold Arlen ,and you will be pleasantly surprised! Zach Garrett is always an audience favorite.
The theme is “Famous Composer Series” and I know Director Jim Culbertson and the band are ready to entertain you with this great GREAT music!
We will be performing Sunday in Fairview Park 6:00 – 7:00 Monday Evening Downtown Central Park under the stars ( and not under rain drops)  7:00 – 9:00. THANKS again to all of you who show up week after week to support YOUR Decatur Municipal Band.
We really appreciate all of your support.
Emcee Shirley

Abigail Walsh and Andrea Pope

I have decided that August is now June and June is August and NO one can understand it or know what to wear. Yes, It was warm downtown Central Park; No , it wasn’t miserable; yes, the rain was coming; no , we didn’t get wet. It turned out to be a wonderful night in the park with some super music.

We were fortunate to have a new face on the bandstand with us in the person of Dr. Abigail Walsh and her magic flute. She teaches at U. Of I Springfield and plays her flute EVERYWHERE and has won numerous awards and has a huge resume. She is just OUTSTANDING!!!!! The audiences on Sunday and Monday agreed with us, too!

Andrea Pope traveled from Champaign to join us again this summer. She sings with Decatur’s own Rock of Ages and is musical director at her church in Champaign.  She has a great presence on the stage and really DELIVERS everything she sings.

I wanted to get up and Dance when she rocked out on “You Can’t Stop The Beat” from the musical Hairspray. And then.... the music from Annie . From” Easy Street”  to the sweet ‘”Maybe” ( my favorite song from Annie) to “Tomorrow”, she covered every mood and style and did a super job. It was WONDERFUL to see the crowd singing along with her when she sang “Tomorrow”.

She also sang some tough Gershwin pieces...”Bess You Is My Woman Now”, “Summertime”....and the list goes on. Thanks, Andrea! Great job!

The band?   Magnificent as always. Under the direction and watchful eye of Jim Culbertson, our talented and skilled musicians can tackle ANYTHING. I sit in my chair amazed ....always amazed. Actually, I did miss sitting in the middle of the band this week, but Jim Culbertson assured me that only rarely would I get to do that. 

Next week, June 26th and 27th our theme is Film Score Spectacular. This is going to be good! Mark Lindvahl from Danville is bringing his horn to town, and I am always glad when he does.  One tune he is playing a piece from the film “Cinema Paradise”.

Our vocalist is Decatur’s own Ann Borders. I am sure you know that she teaches voice at Millikin, but did you know that she has been involved with Sullivan’s Little Theatre on the Square for 28 years now?She was the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music , Golde in Fiddler on the Roof and last summer’s Mary Poppins and then the Addams Family in which she and her husband Dick Borders played husband and wife ( and others) . THIS summer she is playing the Mother Superior in Sister Act ( this is one hysterical show) which opens July 27th and runs through August 7th. Get your tickets FAST for that one.

For us this next weekend, Ann Borders will sing some Gershwin love songs, and the music from The Phantom of the Opera.

For our film score spectacular, the band will play music from the movies “El Cid” , “Avatar”, “Jurassic Park”, “Into the Woods” “Star Wars:The Force Awakens” and more.  DON’T FORGET!!!!  Wednesday evening June22nd the Muni Band is going on the first leg of their “World Tour” to the Overlook Golf Course at Nelson Park.  7:00 – 8:00and the music will include some of next week’s music as well as some of this week’s music. Again...FREE CONCERT

Important interjection:  at 6:00 Monday night before the concert, The Master Gardenersof Macon County will show off the wide variety of theme gardens planted around the library ( just across the street east of Central Park) and they will talk about their design and attributes. So...come for a free Master Gardener show & tell garden tour and stay for some great music afterwards. They call this “Grooving in the Garden”

Tuba Ted and Brenna Pfeiffer

Well, that was a fun Sunday concert in Fairview Park . We had a great crowd, the tubas were rocking, the vocalist was amazing, the band was wonderful ,and it was just fun! And Monday’s audience was big and enthusiastic and receptive. So....this was a memorable weekend for the band.

No matter how warm it seems during the day, the weather always cools off downtown around concert time.DID YOU NOTICE THAT AMAZING MOON HANGING UP IN THE SKY DURING THE SECOND PART OF THE SHOW?  WOW!

Rev Ted Hartley (he says he has a Bible in one hand and a tuba in the other) played a rhumba, foxtrot, and samba kind of a piece called Carioca and showed us that a TUBA can be a solo instrument. BRAVO, Tuba Ted! .....uh...Rev. Hartley.

He was then joined by two muni tubas, talented Eric Lutz and Mr. Showman Steve Schepper with THEIR tubas playing Big Joe The Tuba.....and...yes, it was a great piece, and it was fun!

Our vocalist was Brenna Pfeiffer ( check out the attachment. I asked her for a picture for my blogthis time becauseI wanted to highlight her pink hair.) She is is just delightful ,and SHE CAN REALLY SING!!!!! She sang selections from Les Miz.....and every part of that was different and delivered perfectly. From “On my Own “ to “ Do You Hear The People Sing”, it was all great!

She also sang music from “The King and I” and...a favorite of mine.....”When You Believe” from the animated film “Prince of Egypt”. The part in the song where she sings Hebrew was so very very special. It was just BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!! Bravo to you, Brenna! 

The band pieces were again great, and they get extra kudos for “The Russian Sailors’ Dance”. How they can play that fast and that accurately on just one rehearsal always amazes me. Yea, BAND!!!!!  And, I have NO idea even after 28 years of working with him how Jim Culbertson can keep track of all of those music notes for all of those instruments and turn pages and EVERYTHING and have it all turn out so wonderfully. Yea, Jim Culbertson!

The summer marches on!!

Next week we feature Bill Dethrow as our clarinet soloist. He is playing a favorite piece of mine called “Immer Kleiner” which means ever smaller. He will keep removing parts of his clarinet and keep playing on what is left.This isn’t easy, folks!

Our vocalist has been on the muni stage with us since she was a junior in high school when she sang with her mom Julie Shafer a couple of summers, and I am glad she is still around. She is Kristin (Shafer) Moore, and she is just a super super supervocalist and entertainer. Shegraduated from Belmont university in Nashville in 2010 and has performed with bands around the area. She also has teamed up recently with Zach Garrett and Michael Scherer for an “A plus” cabaret act of THREE TALENTED YOUNG ADULTS!!!!!!

They had a show this spring at the Decatur Arts Center ,and it was a full house. I certainlyhope they do that again. Kristin will be singing “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Funny Girl, Gershwin’s Broadway music, a Bon Jovi Rock Mix and some highlights from FROZEN!!!! I LOVE the music from FROZEN!

A reminder! We have only two more Sunday concerts in Fairview Park!!! This summer is flying by!

Sunday Fairview Park Big Pavilion 6:00 – 7:00 rain or shine

Monday Downtown Central Park 7:00 – 9:00

Thanks again for supporting your own Decatur Municipal Band.

Emcee Shirley

Kristen Moore and Bill Dethrow

Good Morning...just a thought - the Decatur Muni Band just entered its 159th year of continuous service. It is one of the oldest nonmilitary bands in continuous service in the United States and Canada!! We are a “national treasure”, right?

Sunday evening in the big pavilion at Fairview park was certainly a warm, humid one. HOWEVER, the audience showed up, we had an occasional breeze, the “band played on” and the soloist and vocalist were with us; and whatever the heat index was seemed to slip away.

We had some relief on Monday. The park was full of our supporters and a few people playing Pokémon Go (which I certainly don’t understand), the weather was FINE, and the band was GREAT! At the beginning of part 2, I noticed there was a picture-perfect sky off to the northwest; WOW! Summer in the park offers us so much.

Bill Dethrow was our soloist. First he played his saxophone. Then he brought out his clarinet to play “Immer KLleimer” which means “Ever Smaller” and Bill removed parts from the bottom of his clarinet and continued to play on until he was left with a mouthpiece. Unreal!

Our vocalist was Kristen (Shafer) Moore. She lives in Bloomington now , so I am always glad she decides to drive back and forth for us. She is so versatile. She sang “Don’t Rain On My Parade” from Funny Girl. ( That really is a “show-stopper” number).  Then she sang a Broadway Gershwinmedley.  Later in the evening she sang the music from “Frozen” and ended it with a Bon Jovi ROCK medley.  She can sing ANYTHING!!! And she was standing onand walking and actually running to the stage in 5-inch heels.  HOW does she do that?  THANKS, Kristin. Once again, a FANTASTIC JOB!

Next week, our soloist is the talented Claire (Nicholson) Taylor. This gal can play any wind instrument in the band. This week she will be bringing her bassoon and show everyone how to make the bassoon a solo instrument. She teaches bassoon at Millikin and plays with many groups. She will amaze you.

The band , under the direction of tireless Jim Culbertson, continues to tackle some tough music. It is amazing to me that these musicians can play these challenging pieces with only ONE Tuesday evening rehearsal.  Did you know that?  ONE REHEARSAL! Obviously they are skilled and they can REALLY READ MUSIC. !  I am always impressed as I sit in my chair week after week. I am so proud to be the announcer for this group!

Next week

Sunday: Our FINAL FAIRVIEW PARK CONCERT!  Big Pavilion 6:00 – 7:00 rain or shine

Monday : Downtown Central Park 7:00 – 9:00

Hope to see you at one of the concerts!


Thanks to all of you for supportingYOUR Decatur Municipal Band.

Emcee Shirley