The Kenosha Pops Concert Band will try again tonight (after last week’s rain out) to kick off the band’s outdoor season in Pennoyer Park.
And to do that, they’re reaching out to the entire world.
“America: The Melting Pot” — tonight’s theme — will feature music “celebrating the musical heritage of the immigrants who built our nation,” said Craig Gall, the band’s conductor.
The free concert starts at 7 p.m.
The program highlights tunes from several countries, including a piece that is new to the Pops Band: “Bohmische Liebe,” which Gall calls “one of the most popular polkas in Europe right now.”
The tune by composer Mathias Rauch “has very appealing melodies,” Gall said.
The polka represents the Germanic countries. Pieces representing other countries on tonight’s program:
“Valdres,” a concert march by Johannes Hanssen — who Gall calls “the John Philip Sousa of Norway.” He was “a prolific march composer,” he added,” but this is the only one known worldwide. It’s a charming Norwegian march.” Eric Weiss is featured on a trumpet solo.
“The Boys of Wexford” by Robert Dwyer Joyce, arranged by Sammy Nestico. “This is a well-known Irish folk tune,” Gall said, “and was a favorite of President John F. Kennedy. It covers the British Isles for our concert.”
Nestico also arranged “Borodin, Bongos, Brass,” adapted from Russian composer Alexander Borodin’s “String Quartet No. 2, Movement 2.” Broadway fans might recognize it as “Baubles, Bangles and Beads” from the 1953 musical “Kismet.” That show’s composers, Robert Wright and George Forrest, specialized in turning melodies from classical music into film scores and popular songs.
Music from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Flower Drum Song” tells the story of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco.
While that selection covers China, the rousing “Yagi-Bushi” is a folk song from Japan.
Tonight’s concert also celebrates Juneteenth Day, which commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in the state of Texas and, more generally, the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans throughout the former Confederate States of America.
Two selections tonight mark the holiday: music from the epic TV miniseries “Roots” and “A Celebration of Spirituals,” with traditional songs “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho” and “Get on Board, Little Children,” arranged for band by Warren Barker.
Music from another Broadway show — “West Side Story” — focuses on Puerto Ricans living in New York City. “This is an excellent arrangement,” Gall said of the piece, with Leonard Bernstein’s music arranged in a medley by W.J. Duthoit.
South America is represented by “The Girl From Ipanema,” while the entire planet comes together for “We are the World,” the 1985 Michael Jackson/Lionel Richie song that raised funds to battle hunger in Africa.
For his portion of the program, assistant conductor Frank Germinaro will lead the band on:
The Mexican march “Zacatecas” by Genaro Codina.
“Streets of Athens” by John Cacavas.
“Italian Festival” by Glenn Osser. That piece, which Germinaro calls “great stuff,” contains the songs “Summertime in Venice,” love theme from “La Strada” — with trumpet soloist John Sorensen — and “Anema E Core.”
“If anyone has influence with the rain gods, please help us out,” Gall said, referring to last’s week’s rained-out nautical-themed season opener. Several songs from that program will be played on July 3.