Providing enchanting evenings for music-lovers since 1974, the McAllen Symphonic Band continues to thrive.
Its latest triumph, “Hail to the Chief,” featured music about American Presidents.
The band will close its season with “Texas!” March 17 at the McAllen Civic Center.
David Isadore, the deeply experienced new director this season, has put his stamp on the programs, as all conductors do. His many achievements as a musician include national recognition.
He has appeared as a clarinet soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fiedler and has performed with Jerry Lewis, Marvin Hamlish, Don Rickles and Donna Summers, among others.
On Feb. 10, the nearly sold-out audience was top-heavy with Winter Texans. With all tickets priced at $5, this was one of the Valley’s biggest live-music bargains.
Ray Norton, the long-time “Voice of the Town Band,” earned special thanks on the program for his highly interesting comments before each number. As usual it mixed band classics with a few less familiar pieces. Norton is an expert at entertaining to give the musicians a brief rest.
The all-volunteer, heavily experienced band members are not paid, although many of them are professionals. All are Valley musicians who enjoy rehearsing and performing a variety of music.
Their latest program featured “Hail to the Chief” and other presidential and patriotic music. The “General Grant March” was a new one for most.
“The Symphonic Duke” (Ellington) made the program partly because his full name was Edward Kennedy Ellington, he was born in Washington D.C., and the program was about presidents. Maybe this was a stretch, but the jazz was great. It added much to the lively program. This band digs jazz.
The basically Senior Citizen audience clapped their hands with the patriotic “Stars and Stripes Forever” as they always do. The backdrop for the band was a huge flag that looked as if Gen. George Patton should be standing under it, like in the movie about him.
Meyer Lipshitz, a veteran bass clarinetist, deserves special mention for handling the tickets. A real veteran, he served in the U.S. army and was wounded in battle in Europe in World War Two.
Music fans who favor patriotism should mark this concert for next season.
Anyone who enjoys great band music should start looking for tickets as soon as they go on sale for the current season ending March 17. Tickets will be available starting soon at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, the new Convention Center, E-Z TIX, and many RV parks. Winter Texans who saw the Feb. 10 concert are likely to be first in line.