By: Christopher Davis | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: June 2014
The Starlight Band at Guthrie Green.
Every summer, the Starlight Concert Series brings quality live music to diverse audiences in Tulsa. This year marks their 68th season of music, and on Tuesday evenings at Guthrie Green the Starlight Band offers something for everyone, no matter your taste.
The Starlight Concert Series features two configurations of bands. The Starlight Concert Band, which performs the majority of the shows, is the larger of the two, comprised of over 45 musicians playing brass, woodwind and percussion instruments. The Starlight Jazz Orchestra is a smaller version of the Concert Band (about 20 members) and features drums, bass, guitar and piano in addition to the brass, woodwinds and percussion sections. The Starlight Band features some of the best players in town, and it is common for Starlight musicians to be heard performing in other local orchestras, including the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, Signature Symphony and Bartlesville Symphony.
The musical direction for both Starlight Bands is impressive and steeped in the Tulsa community. Dale Barnett, the conductor and musical director for the Starlight Concert Band, has performed with the Starlight Band since 1971. He serves as the director of bands for Holland Hall and plays trombone with the Tulsa Philharmonic. Rich Fischer, notable KWGS personality and general manager, serves as director for the Starlight Jazz Orchestra. He, too, plays trombone with the Tulsa Philharmonic.
Wendy Reed, executive director for Starlight Concerts, explains that her organization works hard to ensure Tulsa has opportunities to attend live concerts in a family-friendly setting. The best thing, she boasts, is that every Starlight Concert is free to the public.
“The Starlight Band is one of only a handful of professional concert bands in the United States,” Reed points out. “Tulsa is probably the smallest town in the United States with a professional concert band. This is, really, a unique opportunity for Tulsans.”
Ms. Reed explains that, every season, the Starlight Concert Series strives to present a broad spectrum of music for as large an audience as possible. Surely, this summer’s performances at the new Guthrie Green in the Brady District will attract new listeners.
“This year we’re very excited to announce that our free concerts will be at Guthrie Green,” says Reed. “Guthrie Green is in the heart of the vibrant Brady Arts District, and we are looking forward to introducing even larger audiences to our family-friendly concerts.”
This season’s schedule is engaging. The Starlight Concert Band will kick off the series on Tuesday, June 24 with “Americana Night.” On Tuesday, July 1, the band showcases various dance styles with “Let’s Dance.” The evening will feature live dancers, too. On July 8, the Starlight Jazz Orchestra will perform for Will Rogers Rotary Club Night. Then, on Friday, July 11, the Concert Band will perform a special Friday show, “That’s Entertainment,” in conjunction with the First Friday Art Crawl in the Brady Arts District. The Starlight Concert Band is back on Tuesday, July 15, for “Night at the Movies.” The evening will feature popular movie themes, followed by a silent short film accompanied by live theatre organ music. On Tuesday, July 22, join the Concert Band for “At Your Request,” wherein the audience will help select songs. Then, join the Starlight Jazz Orchestra for another First Friday Art Crawl on August 1 for “Jazz Under the Stars.”
With a change in scenery this year and a schedule designed to attract Brady District pedestrians, the Starlight Concert Series is one of the highlights of summer in downtown Tulsa.
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Christopher Davis is an educator and musician, as well as a writer. A California native, he resides in Tulsa with his wife, two sons and a modest menagerie of pets. When he isn't inspiring young minds, you will most likely find him spending time with his family or playing drums and percussion with Project Huckleberry or the Movetet. In addition to Value News, Davis also writes for Currentland. You can view his work at https://seedavis.wordpress.com.