Bring on the brass: The Great American Brass Band Festival is big success
RELEASED: June 5, 2008
The four-day weekend celebration kicks off on Thursday, June 12 with the traditional Chautaqua Tea in two separate locations: the Toy Box Dining Room at 2 p.m. and the Community Arts Center at 3 p.m., all in concurrence with the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration. At 7 p.m., the Beaumont Inn will be hosting a new event – Beer, Bourbon, and Brass – where participants can enjoy the tastes of Kentucky, including the award winning Kentucky Ale, a supporter of the Festival.
Friday, June 13 brings a new dawn and with it a fascinating group of events that keep those who have previously come to the Festival coming back for more. Registered visitors can enjoy the Brass History Conference at Centre's Norton Center for the Arts, where the theme for the year is "Abraham Lincoln and American Band Music". Following is a new event, a luncheon concert at Old Fort Harrod in Harrodsburg, with a performance by the United States Army Brass Quintet. Later that evening is the annual Great American Balloon Race, along with a free evening of band performances.
On Saturday, June 14 beginning at 9 a.m., music will fill the ears of participants as they wake from the last evening, music that will continue for the next 14 hours. For those early risers, however, there is the Great American Pancake Breakfast to kick off the day at 7 a.m. Other activities on this day include a Brass Master Class, for those interested in music. There is also a Main Street Parade at 11 a.m., and following is an "Instrument Petting Zoo," where children can touch and get to know the instruments themselves – this is also held on Sunday from 1-3 p.m.
In keeping with the theme of the festival, a historical play will be held at Weisiger Park at 4 p.m., bearing the title "Strike Up the Band: Lincoln Comes Home." This original play (written by Centre communications director Mike Norris) focuses not only on the life of Abraham Lincoln, but also on John Todd Stuart, the Centre alum of 1826 who set Honest Abe on his path to the presidency. Stuart was Lincoln's first law partner and gave Lincoln the tools (literally, the law books) he needed to study law. The play will star award-winning Lincoln presenter Dean Dorrell as Lincoln, with accompaniment by Saxton's Cornet Band as they play authentic Civil War scores. Also appearing in the production are Centre staff members Will Johnston as John Todd Stuart and Stan Campbell as "the historian." The last event of the evening will be the Great American Picnic beginning at 5 p.m.
Festival participants can't let this event-filled day wear them out. The brass will be back in action at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 15 accompanying an ecumenical church service. After the service, music continues for hours on the Centre College main stage in front of Crounse Hall on campus, a new location due to current campus construction.
Some familiar musicians will be making appearances. The host Advocate Brass Band founded by George Foreman, director of the College's Norton Center for the Arts, will perform under the direction of Centre music professor Vince DiMartino. The crowd-pleasing clown band, City Sidewalk Stompers, is among the returnees. This year's festival will also feature the Fountain City Brass Band, which earned the prestigious title of North American Brass Band Association Champion for 2007.
Other weekend highlights include Friday night's ever-popular Gallery Hop Stop from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Hop, in storefronts and galleries along or near Main Street, will feature more than 40 artists, and will also feature the artist whose work is featured on the festival's commemorative poster. On Saturday, the Brass Band Festival 5K run, the Run for the Brass, will take place at 8 a.m. at Millennium Park. Proceeds will support the Boyle County Public Library.
For more information, visit the Great American Brass Band Festival Web page.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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