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Concert band to play first concert in Sweet Home


June 20, 2018

THE WILLAMETTE Valley Concert Band will perform in Sweet Home on June 30.

Sweet Home will be treated to a smorgasbord of all-American musical favorites as the Willamette Valley Concert Band presents a Patriotic Pops Concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 30, in the reconditioned Sweet Home High School Auditorium.

The program will feature a wide variety of music including Broadway show tunes, big-band swing favorites, patriotic music, trumpet and clarinet soloists, songs recorded by Frank Sinatra and traditional marches.

This performance marks the first concert by the Willamette Valley Concert Band in Sweet Home.

The Willamette Valley Concert Band, based in Albany, has played concerts in the Willamette Valley since 1970. The 50-member band includes adult musicians from Benton, Lynn, Marion and Polk counties.

It has been directed since 1972 by Dr. Richard Sorenson, emeritus director of bands at Western Oregon University, with the assistance of assistant director Mike Rogers, a retired high school and university band director from North Carolina who moved to Albany and has played clarinet and keyboard in the Willamette Valley Concert Band for several years.

The roster of musicians includes flutist Lori Currey of Sweet Home.

Featured soloists will include trumpetist Mark Rasmussen, one of the owners of Windsmith Music Store in Philomath, and clarinetist Charlie Eads, owner of radio station KSHO and KGAL in Lebanon. They will perform in the traditional Spanish bullfighting song "La Virgen de la Macarena."

Eads, who has played with the band for about 40 years, was instrumental in getting the Sweet Home concert on the calendar.

"I don't recall ever playing in Sweet Home before," he said. "We're the Willamette Valley Concert Band. We need to play there."

The band plays six to eight concerts a year, including regular fall, Christmas and spring performances at the Russell Tripp Auditorium at Linn-Benton Community College, and a yearly Memorial Day concert at LaSells Stewart Center, along with "floater" performances in other mid-valley communities.

Eads said he enjoys the opportunity the band provides to socialize with other musicians and "keep some level of expertise on my instrument.

"It's just fun."

He said the group is high-caliber enough that the musicians can "take pride in our performances" without forcing them to "work really hard."

The June 30 program will feature a variety of styles and period music which, Eads said, will appeal to the young and old.

"Big Bands in Concert," a medley of swing music made famous by Glenn Miller, Stan Kenton, Duke Ellington and Tommy Dorsey. Pieces include "String of Pearls," "Satin Doll," "Intermission Riff," "Sophisticated Lady" and "Opus One."

The program will also include "Alkali Ike Rag: A North Dakota Misunderstanding," a ragtime piece written for the 1911 popular silent movie "Alkali Ike's Auto" by Swedish-American composer Albert Perfect, who served as director of bands at the University of Oregon and also has the distinction of founding the Eugene Municipal Band and composing the University of Oregon Fight Song.

Patriotic selections will include "Land of Liberty," a medley of well-known American patriotic songs arranged by John Wasson that includes "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean," "Chester," "Yankee Doodle," "America the Beautiful" and "America."

"Armed Forces Salute" features the official songs of the five U.S. Military branches plus the Merchant Marines. Veterans and friends will be encouraged to stand during the playing of their military group's song.

More popular music will include "Recorded by Sinatra," which includes the songs "High Hopes," "Young at Heart," "Love Is the Tender Trap," "Love and Marriage" and "My Kind of Town."

"Broadway Spectacular" is a medley of show tunes including "Hello Dolly," "What I Did for Love," "Sunrise, Sunset," "Tomorrow" and "Mame."

In honor of graduates from high schools, colleges and universities this year, the band will play Edward Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance #1," the traditional processional for such events.

For the children and young at heart the program will include the delightful "Teddy Bears Picnic."

Traditional marches on the concert will include "Hands Across the Sea," "Manhattan Beach," "Hail to the Spirit of Liberty" and "Semper Fidelis" by John Philip Sousa.

Closing the concert will be the playing of the U.S. official march "Stars and Stripes Forever" by John Philip Sousa.

Eads said the band's performances are always free.

"We used to sell tickets, but we'd rather have a large appreciative audience than a small ticket-buying audience," he said.

The concert is sponsored by the City of Sweet Home and a grant from the Linn County Cultural Trust.

For further information call (503) 838-3474 or go to


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