July 3, 2010

The Gay Freedom Band Returns
to historic Bixby Park in Long Beach for an
Afternoon of Patriotic Music
The Freedom Band Foundation of Los Angeles
announced they are again sponsoring a free concert in
Bixby Park on Saturday, July 3, 2010 at 3:00 in the
afternoon. The Foundation will present The Gay Freedom
Band in “An Old Fashioned Concert in the Park,” paying
tribute to the American spirit and the American Armed
Forces. The Foundation is also presenting its latest
project, Union Station, a 1930’s – 1940’s era swing
orchestra. They will offer up some of the Greatest
Generation’s favorite dance hits.

Producer Pamela James noted that Long Beach “is like
our second home now. We will have played three
concerts in just over two years at Bixby Park. It’s such a
great place for families, neighbors, and visitors to mingle
and listen to an afternoon of unabashed patriotic music.”

The free concert is made possible by the Foundation’s
donors and by a grant from Long Beach Lesbian and
Gay Pride.

Under the direction of Artistic Director, Willis
Masonheimer, The Gay Freedom Band will be part of the
great American tradition of Independence Day concert
band performances carried out in big and small towns
across the country this holiday weekend. “We’ve worked
hard to find just the right balance of familiar, traditional
songs that always strike an emotional chord with
American audiences, and a few pieces with new twists
and turns just to keep it exciting.”

The program will begin with a rarely heard arrangement
of the Star Spangled Banner written by Robert Russell
Bennett, famous as a Broadway orchestrator for Irving
Berlin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, George Gershwin and
Richard Rogers. The band will play “Victory At Sea,”
another famous Bennett medley of Richard Rogers’
music from the Emmy Award winning 1952 NBC
documentary. The band will also pay tribute to the five
branches of the military with the “Armed Forces On
Parade” medley.

The only piece on the program not written by an
American is the finale from Antonin Dvorak’s ninth
symphony, “From The New World,” his most popular
work. Written in 1893 this familiar opus showed his
admiration for Native American and African American
melodies, and his belief that this would be the source of
future American music.

“There will be lots of ‘Glory, Glory, Hallelujah’ moments
of course” said Director Masonheimer, “but wait until you
hear where a simple unassuming little tune like “Yankee
Doodle” can go in Mark William’s spectacular fantasy.
We’ll also play a ton of marches, some Sousa favorites
and others. Because of the 3PM start the fireworks will all
have be musical!”

Founded in 1978 as the Great American Yankee
Freedom Band of Los Angeles to provide entertainment
at pride celebrations, the mission of the Freedom Band
Foundation today is to promote the performing arts and
bring together divergent communities through the
performance and experience of music.