Fountain City Brass Band returns for Joplin Pops
Latest News | June 31, 2015
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Fountain City Brass Band, from Kansas City, will perform Friday in Joplin for the 35th annual Joplin Pops concert. Courtesy | Lee Harrelson
Upcoming Music Festivals
Posted By Joe Hadsall | Jun 24, 2015
Fountain City Brass Band’s concert last year, for Pro Musica’s Joplin Pops concert, was pretty good, said artistic director Lee Harrelson.
And this year’s concert should be even better — mainly because he’ll be there this time, he said, joking.
“It was the only concert I’ve ever missed,” Harrelson said. “We had four or five of our top players somewhere else last year, so it will be a knockout with some of our superstars.”
The band, based in Kansas City, will be featured at the 35th annual Joplin Pops concert Friday. Its program includes a variety of musical selections, from classical arrangements and traditional favorites to interpretations of jazz and country staples.
One of those arrangements is featured at the start of the program, Harrelson said. The band will play “Where Eagles Sing,” by Paul Lovatt-Cooper.
“An English composer was inspired to compose this after visiting Disney World’s Animal Kingdom,” Harrelson said. “He spotted a bald eagle flying, and with that being the symbol of our country, he wrote a piece that makes a thrilling opener.”
Another piece features one of the superstars, flugel horn player Matthew Vangjel. “Ashoken Farewell,” by Jay Unger, was featured in Ken Burns’ PBS series “The Civil War.” The program also includes arrangements of Josef Zawinul’s “Birdland,” J.B. Arban’s “Fantasie Brillante” and a Glenn Miller medley.
Named for the fountains that dot its home town of Kansas City, the band plays in the tradition of the 18,000 bands that used to perform in the U.S. before the advent of radio, TV and other music-broadcasting media. Through a repertoire that includes classics and modern composition, band members seek to keep this tradition of American heritage alive.
One of the ways it does that is through competitions, of which the band has won several. Including recent competitions, the band has won five North American Brass Band championships and seven U.S. Open Brass Band Championships. The band has also been in residence at the Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival in Estes Park, Colorado.