The Johnson City Community Concert Band, conducted by Dr. Christian Zembower, will celebrate Johnson City’s 150th anniversary with an outdoor concert that includes the world premiere of “Echoes of 1869,” a piece commissioned for the community by the City’s Sesquicentennial Commission. The free concert will be held at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 27 at Winged Deer Park’s Lakefront Festival Plaza Goulding Amphitheatre, 199 Carroll Creek Road, Johnson City. “The work pays homage to the founding year of Johnson City,” said Dr. Joe Moore, director of marching bands for East Tennessee State University, who composed the piece based on music that was either popular or written in 1869. “It is appropriate that the Johnson City Community Concert Band will premiere this piece of music since the town band was the most common instrumental ensemble during that era.”
Local bands during this period evolved from the military bands of the American Civil War. Their repertoire consisted of marches, arrangements of popular music, hymns, and transcriptions of orchestral and operatic works. “Echoes of 1869” includes three movements, which can be performed independently as well as together as a single piece. The first movement, entitled “Quickstep,” is based on two quickstep marches found in the band books of the 26th North Carolina Regimental Band: “Twinkling Stars Are Laughing” and “Annie of the Vale.” The second movement is based on the hymn “Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross” which was composed in the year 1869. The third movement is based on popular songs from the time period and includes, “Shoo Fly,” “Little Brown Jug,” and “Listen to the Mockingbird.” The latter being particularly appropriate since the mockingbird was designated as the state bird by the Tennessee legislature in 1933.
The Johnson City Community Concert Band was founded in 1983 and currently includes 85-100 musicians. The band plays between four and eight free concerts each year. The concert is free and open to the public. Attendees are also encouraged to bring a blanket or folding chair. The location offers easy access, free parking, a playground and a relaxed atmosphere. For more information about the yearlong sesquicentennial celebration, visit www.jctn150.com or follow @jctn150 (Johnson City 150 — Sesquicentennial Celebration) on Facebook.