The Chautauqua Community Band only plays two shows a year: July Fourth and the annual Old First Night celebration. Founded in 1990 by Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra veteran Jason Weintraub, the band may not pack the sophisticated punch of the CSO, but it’s the ensemble’s musical whimsy that so many enjoy.
Those who jumped, jived and wailed at the 2012 Amphitheater Ball can look forward to a repeat performance tonight. The Ladies First Big Band returns at 8 p.m. to a semi-benchless Amp for a concert that they expect will make Chautauquans of all ages get up and move.
Shortly before coming to work at Chautauqua Institution in 1996, Jared Jacobsen made a stop at a tiny parish church in London around July 4 to play a recently restored 16th-century pipe organ. He performed “Variations on ‘America,’ ” by Charles Ives, and “the aisles went crazy.”
The U.S. Army Field Band & Soldiers’ Chorus has been coming to Chautauqua Institution for years. But last year, they were noticeably absent.
Red, white and blue will be the colors of choice today, but at 12:15 p.m. on Bestor Plaza, a particular shade of light blue will stand out.
The Chautauqua Community Band, all donning light blue Community Band shirts, will come together to play the 22nd Annual Independence Day concert.
Bestor Plaza will be covered with blankets and lawn chairs, packed with families enjoying a Fourth of July picnic lunch. The audience will watch family, friends and neighbors participate in the Children’s School parade, followed by the Community Band’s concert. The concert is a mix of familiar, Americana classics and traditional sing-alongs.
Chautauqua’s Amphitheater will be oddly benchless this Independence Day. Instead of settling into seats, Amp program attendees tonight will swing across the dance floor to the music of the Ladies First Big Band.
Tunes such as “Sing Sing Sing” and “Jump Jive an’ Wail” will waft throughout the Institution grounds as part of the Amphitheater Ball from 8 to 10 p.m. The music, provided by the 16 female members of the Ladies First Big Band, will be a jazzy-swing style laden with big band classics from the 1930s and ’40s.
“So many events are segregated by age, but this breaks down the barriers,” said Director of Programming Marty Merkley. “The Amphitheater Ball is an event that brings the community — and all ages — together.”