JMU Outdoor Summer Music Series Spotlights Local Groups

From: Public Affairs

May 12, 2008

HARRISONBURG Concerts on the Lawn, a series of six free musical events at James Madison University, opens Sunday, May 25.

Area musical ensembles the Massanutten Brass Band, Just Jazzin, The Ovation Singers, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Concert Band and the JMU Brass Band and the 29th Infantry Division Army Band perform in the series sponsored by JMU's College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Each Sunday concert begins at 7 p.m. in the Sculpture Garden between the Music Building and Duke Hall on the JMU campus. Parking will be available in lots between Duke and Miller halls and in the new Warsaw Street Parking Deck.

Audience members may bring picnic dinners and lawn chairs to the concerts. The War Memorial Auditorium in Memorial Hall is the rain location for concerts. For more information, call 540-568-6987.

May 25 Massanutten Brass Band
The 32-member band, one of only two British-style brass bands in the Shenandoah Valley, performs marches, concert works, hymns and movie music. Kevin J. Stees directs the band, which is sponsored by the Massanutten Presbyterian Church and includes musicians who are college professors, secondary school teachers, students and community members. The band was the 2007 Champion of the North American Brass Band Association's Challenge Section.

June 1 Just Jazzin'
Just Jazzin', a 20-member ensemble that plays big band and contemporary swing and Latin tunes, performs, featuring vocal soloist Charles Barone. Directed by Tom McKenzie, the ensemble is made of up former military musicians, college- and high-school faculty as well as talented local musicians.

June 8 The Ovation Singers
The Ovation Singers from Staunton were organized by Carolyn and Ray Hoaster in 1985 as a small flexible chorus designed to meet the various demands of the Staunton area community. The Singers present customized programs from Bach to Billings to Broadway, offering patriotic, historical and seasonal concerts in both sacred and secular settings. For the past 20 years, the ensemble has presented the Christmas Eve program at The Homestead. They have appeared in the Presidents Series on C-SPAN and in a PBS program about Woodrow Wilson, singing excerpts from their Woodrow Wilson Songbook.

June 15 Harrisonburg-Rockingham Concert Band
The band, made up of musicians from middle-school age to mature with backgrounds in music ranging from novice to professional, performs a typical concert in the park repertoire, with marches, overtures and Broadway musicals. William G. Posey directs the band, which traces its lineage to the late 19th century, but took the form of a modern-day concert band in 1983.

June 22 JMU Brass Band
The band performs a home concert before departing on a 10-day concert tour of Great Britain, where the young musicians will compete in a British brass band contest. The JMU Brass Band, one of only a few collegiate brass bands in the United States, has twice been named the North American Brass Band Association Honors Section Champion (2004, 2005) and was the 2006 and 2007 NABBA Championship Section Runner-up. Kevin J. Stees is the director of the band he formed in 2000.

June 29 29th Infantry Division Army Band
The 29th has been in existence since early 1917 and has fought in World War I and II, Bosnia and Iraq. The band has supported troops by providing morale-building concerts and ceremonial backgrounds for funerals, changes of command and community concerts. The band has performed in Bosnia and at the 60th-anniversary observance of D-Day. 1st Sgt. Fred Lewis conducts the band.

JMU Public Affairs contact: Janet Smith, 540-568-8008 or smithjl@jmu.edu.

# # #