TAMPA — Professional concert bands are few and far between.
The only such group in our state is the Florida Wind Band, led by conductor John Carmichael, also director of bands at the University of South Florida.
Yet, as Carmichael explained, wind band music is an integral part of our American heritage and the musically meshing sounds of woodwind, brass and percussion instruments have played out for decades, mainly in the form of military bands.
With that said, it is fitting that the Florida Wind Band, made up of about 48 players who come from as far away as Orlando and Sarasota, will present a concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the USF School of Music Concert Hall to honor those who have served in the military and pay tribute to our nation.
Featured on the program will be the Armed Forces Salute, in which all five branches of the U.S. military will be recognized by their signature theme songs.
Tickets are priced at $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students, and may be purchased in advance through Ticketmaster at 1-800-982-2787 or at the door. Group rates are available by calling (813) 531-9252, and anyone who presents a military ID at the box office will be admitted free of charge.
Carmichael, who founded the band in 2007 by way of auditions, said the players' high level of talent necessitates that the group rehearse just twice prior to each of the band's three annual performances, which include a December holiday pops concert, a Cinco de Mayo salute to our nation's Hispanics and the upcoming presentation leading in to the celebration of Independence Day.
“We're hoping this program is going to spark a wide audience,” said Carmichael, who is in his 41st year of teaching music. “The kind of people we're playing for should be all the way from retirees to students involved in the college's band program, to band directors in the area.”
The band's musicians, with the exception of the section leaders, receive no compensation for their time, talent and effort.
“They are doing it to play in a really good band,” he said, adding that approximately 70 percent of the players have been with the group since its inception.
Stacy McColley, the clarinet section leader and a clarinet instructor at Florida Southern College, is excited about the show.
“What is more Americana than a concert of patriotic band music to help celebrate the Fourth of July?” she said. “I grew up going to summer band concerts in Michigan and I am pleased to be a part of continuing the tradition with an ensemble made up of such dedicated musicians.”
Doug Moser, the band's principal percussionist and assistant director of bands and orchestra percussion, guitar and piano studies at Wharton High School in New Tampa, concurred.
“I really value the opportunity to bring the best wind ensemble music to audience of all ages as well as perform with some of the best players around,” he said. “I am also excited around this time of year to play some of the great patriotic works and celebrate the music of American composers.”
For information, visit www.floridawindband.com or call (813) 974-2311.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.