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'Battle of the Big Bands II' scheduled

Sunday, July 12, 2009

TERRE HAUTE -- The music of the big bands will fill the air at Fairbanks Park as the "Battle of the Big Bands II" returns Saturday.

It's a friendly competition and the audience ultimately is the winner.

The Men of Note and Claudia will perform first at 7 p.m., with the Terre Haute Community Band taking the stage at 8 p.m. Both bands will highlight music from such big band giants as Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Hoagy Carmichael and Harry James.

The audience is invited to bring their dancing shoes or hum along to their favorite tunes.

The Men of Note Band and Claudia have been a mainstay in Central Indiana and Illinois for 50 years.

Bill Fulwiler was the original leader, arranger and pianist for the group, which featured his wife Claudia as vocalist.

After his death in 2000, the group temporarily disbanded but with the support of band members and Claudia, the band reorganized under the direction of George Graesch in 2001.

Graesch began with the Men of Note as a substitute trumpet player in 1956 and became a regular from 1984-2000. From 2001 to the present, he has served as leader-trumpet.

Graesch retired as Director of Bands and Coordinator of the Wind Division at Indiana State University in 1984 after 31 years.

Each band will spotlight the talents of its members. Claudia will perform several vocals, including "Bye, Bye, Blackbird," "All of Me," and "It Had To Be You."

The Terre Haute Community Band will feature James Chesterson, Music Director, for the Sinfonietta, and the first trumpet player for the Crossroads Brass, playing the solo in "A Tribute to Harry James."

The "Dixieland Clambake" will bring the talents of the THCB's Dixieland combo to the forefront: Jan Weber, clarinet; Cody Hedges, tenor saxophone; Steve Steppe, trumpet; Bill Heinrich, trombone; Michael Livingston, tuba; and John Youngblood, drums.

"Big Band Signatures" played by the THCB, will showcase hit numbers that became signature or theme songs for specific bands. Audience members may recognize "Caravan," from Duke Ellington, "Woodchoppers Ball," from Woody Herman, and "In The Mood," from Glenn Miller. Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen, well known composers and arrangers of pop music, wrote "Blues in the Night," a big band favorite. A "Salute to American Jazz," will include "St. Louis Blues," and "Birdland," while "Broadway Overture," reaches back to the 1940s with hits like "Apple Blossom Time," and "Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey."

The Men of Note and Claudia announced recently they will include in their playlist Ellington's "Satin Doll," Benny Goodman's "Moonglow," and Miller's "String of Perls," among many other well known jazz and swing numbers.

All THCB concerts are free and take place at Fairbanks Park.

The conductor of the band is Yvonne Newlin, the Performing Arts Coordinator at Lincoln Trail Community College, Robinson, Ill.

The Summer Concert series is sponsored by the Terre Haute Parks and Recreation Department.

For further information, call the Terre Haute Community Band office and library at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, 812-535-6440, or visit www.terrehautecommunityband.org.

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