Sumter Community Concert Band opens 36th season with variety

Nostalgia, patriotic marches, show tunes on tap


Fall is here, and with the more temperate weather comes the 36th season for the Sumter Community Concert Band. Director James H. "Jimmy" Mills has selected a varied program for the band's 3 p.m. Sunday concert at Patriot Hall.

SCCB spokesman Rick Mitchum is a charter member of the band that started in 1982. A trumpet player, he said he looks forward to the concert season each year.

"Jimmy likes a varied program," Mitchum said, "and the band likes the opportunity to play different types of music."

Mills, who is in his 13th year as director, continues to commute from Chapin each week for rehearsal. Under his leadership the size of the band has swelled to around 45 to 50 musicians, many of them commuting from nearby areas, as well.

The increased size gives the band a richer sound, Mitchum said, adding there is still a need for more musicians in all sections.

Sunday's concert will open, as all SCCB performances do, with the Star-Spangled Banner, he said. While the order of the remaining program had not yet been set at press time, Mitchum did give descriptions of the pieces on the program, several of which could be classified as patriotic.

"'Fourth of July' is a medley of patriotic music," he said. Arranged by the prolific John Cacavas, the piece starts with "You're a Grand Old Flag," leading into some of the most familiar and best-loved tunes, Mitchum said.

The audience will hear parts of "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean," "America," a march version of "The Yankee Doodle Boy," "Stars and Stripes Forever" and more.

"E Pluribus Unum," Latin for "one from many," is a march tune by Fred Jewell, based on a traditional motto of the U.S.

The band almost always plays a tribute to big band music. Sunday, they'll perform "T.D.'s Boogie Woogie," written by Tommy Dorsey and Deane Kincaide. The piece has a swing tempo, and is a "typical boogie woogie," Mitchum said. Steve Rollings will have a trombone solo.

Henry Fillmore, a popular composer and arranger for concert bands, was also once a circus bandmaster. His "Troopers Tribunal" is considered a classic circus march, with the "Troopers" in the title a pun for "troupers," as in a circus troupe. Fillmore reportedly used the spelling because his father disapproved of his association with a circus.

"Viva Italia!" comprises five melodies that should be familiar to most people. They are "O Sole Mio," "Tarantella," the Prelude to Act III of "La Traviata," "The Carnival of Venice" and "Funiculi, Funicula." Jack Bullock wrote the arrangement for concert band.

Nostalgia reigns in Warren Barker's arrangement of old standards for his piece titled "Themes Like Old Times." Among the songs in his piece are "Peg O' My Heart," "I Want a Girl (Just Like the Girl that Married Dear Old Dad)" and "By the Light of the Silvery Moon."

Going back even farther is Robert Sheldon's arrangement of several melodies with their origins in Southern Appalachia. Titled "The Blue Ridge," the four songs in this medley were likely handed down through the generations of families living in that area. They are "Jack-a-Roe," "Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies," "Tom Dooley" and "Barbara Allen." The piece was written for the Asheville, N.C., community band and is "a reflection of that part of the country," Mitchum said.

"Evening Song" is an arrangement by Shelley Hanson of Josef Rheinberger's celebrated choral work.

"It's a six-part piece that has a lot of expression," Mitchum said.

Robert Berry has the opening trumpet solo, a bluesy introduction to music from the popular musical "Chicago." All sections of the band have feature parts in such tunes as "And All That Jazz," "Cell Block Tango," "Roxie" and other familiar songs.

The Sumter Community Concert Band will present the opening concert of its 2017-18 season at 3 p.m. Sunday at Patriot Hall, 135 Haynsworth St. Admission is free, and the public is invited to attend.

The band continues to accept new members in all sections. Rehearsals are held in the band room at Patriot Hall from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays. Those interested in joining the band should come to a rehearsal. Musicians must be able to read music, should have some experience in a school or college band or in another community band and must be 18 years old or older. For more information, call (803) 775-9265.