Guest conductors will lead the American Band College Directors Band for its Independence Day concert in Ashland. - St. Claire Productions

A fireworks show to beat the band

The American Band College Directors Band is in town and it's busy making music. Last week the 200-piece band performed at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater in Medford. Next week the band will help Ashland celebrate Independence Day with the annual Fourth of July Fireworks Concert.

The concert will take place at the Ashland High School football stadium. Families are encouraged to bring blankets and picnic on the grounds. Pre-concert music by small groups of ABC members will begin at 7 p.m. The concert by the two 110-member directors bands will begin at 8 p.m. The last 30 minutes of the show will coincide with the Ashland fireworks display.

Since June 21, 200 middle school, high school and college band directors from throughout the United States and a few foreign countries have been attending the American Band College held at Southern Oregon University. Twenty-five world-class clinicians have been providing two one-week sessions as part of the curriculum. Most directors attending the college are part of the three-year master's degree program. Some already have earned their masters from the program but are returning.

The American Band College began in 1989 as an undergraduate training program at what is now SOU. In addition to classes for participants, the program offers the public opportunities to hear the band in Medford and Ashland.

The Fourth of July Fireworks Concert will feature guest soloists the Capital Saxophone Quartet. Founded in 1991, the quartet is made up of saxophonists who are alumni of United States military bands and teaching faculty at American music schools. The zoot-suited saxophone group plays the standards of Tin Pan Alley and swing. It has performed with many symphony orchestras and released two orchestral CDs, "Anything Goes" and "DIG." "DIG" features jazz-influenced arrangements of orchestral works by Bach, Beethoven and Mozart.

Guest conductors for the Fourth of July show will be David Holsinger, composer and professor at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., and Ray Cramer, member of the Indiana University School of Music faculty from 1969 to 2005. Both have won awards for their many contributions to band music.

Tickets for the Fireworks Concert are $16 for adults, $12 for seniors 62 and up. Children under 12 will be admitted free with a paying adult. Tickets are available at Cripple Creek Music and on-line at www.bandworld.org.

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