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Owatonna Band Soars During Community Performance

The Owatonna Community Band delivered an inspiring, fun performance during Thursday’s concert in the park series in Central Park, downtown Owatonna.

Under the direction of Owatonna High School band director Peter Guenther, the band covered patriotic numbers from the American Civil War through selections of John Williams from the new Star Wars movies. A crowd of over 200 gathered, many in sweatshirts or under blankets due to the cool, breezy conditions.

The medley of songs from the play and movie Les Miserables nearly inspired me to put the movie into my DVD player afterward. The rendition of “Master of the House” was especially fun. A medley of Paul Simon songs highlighted his musical genius.

From Guenther’s prepared song details we learned more about the music. We found out which songs were popular in the north during Civil War times, such as “The Battle Cry for Freedom” and which were popular among the Confederate states, like “The Bonnie Blue Flag” and “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”

We learned American composer Michael Kamen wrote music for numerous movies and awards shows before passing away at age 55 due to multiple sclerosis. He also founded a program that continues to bring music education to children in underprivileged areas of the country. While Williams at the age of 87 continues to compose and conduct.

The evening included the classic overture “The Marriage of Figaro” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and “Washington Greys,” which recognizes the original honor guard for George Washington when he returned to New York City after the British evacuated in 1783.

The Owatonna Community Band goes on the road Thursday July 20 to perform at the band shell in Faribault at 7PM. They will be back at Central Park in Owatonna July 27. A pair of contemporary Christian bands perform July 20 in downtown Owatonna, beginning at 6PM.

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