CKCB at Bardstown: Performance Location Change

Detour BandThe weather forecast is filled with sun, and we’re ready to provide some musical fun.

Please take note of Friday’s performance location change, and please pass the word.

CKCB’s Friday, June 29th concert at 7:00 PM will now be held in downtown Bardstown at the Farmers Market Pavilion, rather than at Bardstown Community Park.

Here are updated directions:

Coming into Bardstown on Hwy 150 from Springfield, or the first Bardstown exit off the Blue Grass Parkway, continue on Hwy 150/Springfield Road all the way downtown until you run into the old Courthouse on the Court Square. Turn right on N. 3rd Street (Hwy 150 turns north here) and go one block to Flaget Avenue and again turn right. Farmers Market is in the middle of the block on your right.

Map of Downtown Bardstown


CKCB Performs at Bardstown’s Farmers Market Pavilion

CKCB Dramatic B&W BardstownThe day is approaching; the weather forecasters are making great promises. CKCB travels to Bardstown’s Farmers Market Pavilion this Friday, June 29th to perform at 7:00 PM. We’re excited to be bringing a great variety of music to the picnic table. Here are some directions to the Farmers Market Pavilion (and if you are convinced we were having it at another location, you were right–this article has been updated to reflect the change in venue):

Coming into Bardstown on Hwy 150 from Springfield, or the first Bardstown exit off the Blue Grass Parkway, continue on Hwy 150/Springfield Road all the way downtown until you run into the old Courthouse on the Court Square. Turn right on N. 3rd Street (Hwy 150 turns north here) and go one block to Flaget Avenue and again turn right. Farmers Market is in the middle of the block on your right.

Thanks to our friends at the Stephen Foster Music Club, the Bardstown Parks and Recreation Department, and their gracious sponsors, the concert is presented to you free of charge–no tickets required. Leave your week behind and enjoy a free concert to get your weekend started.

Bardstown Community Park
The CKCB performed at Bardstown Community Park in 2017.

Can’t make it to Bardstown this weekend? Bummer. But we’re here to help! CKCB will also be in Paris, Kentucky this Sunday, July 1. Check out our previous post for some info and stay tuned!

CKCB: On the Road; In the Elements

Bardstown; Paris; Lexington: three cities in two weeks.

CKCB Dramatic B&W BardstownYes, the Central Kentucky Concert Band is hitting the road and embarking on our Summer Concert Series where we bring the music to you.  We’re bringing some jazz, show tunes, some marches (what would summer be without marches?) and just some  generally fun and exhilarating tunes to the musical table.

CKCB Dramatic B&W ParisThanks to our sponsors, the Stephen Foster Music Club, the Bardstown Parks and Recreation Department, Garden Club of Kentucky, and the Friends of the Arboretum, you can enjoy these concerts free of charge. Bring your spouse, the kids, your grandma, uncle,  and friends, and enjoy the show. Just add something to nosh, and something to keep you off the lawn, unless you like sitting on the lawn, and you’re good to go.

CKCB Dramatic B&W LexingtonThe music will be fun, and the locations will be beautiful.

Check out our tour schedule:

Crafting the Score.

CKCB Group Shot 2018 wUKFBQ
The Central Kentucky Concert Band with the UK Faculty Brass Quintet  performing Bernstein in 2018 at the Lexington Opera House

In December, among other selections, we featured Shostakovich’s  Finale to his Symphony No. 5, and Goedicke’s Concert Etude featuring the band’s very own principal trumpet player T.J. Thomas as soloist. In March, we marched with Trauermusik by Wagner,  March to the Scaffold by Berlioz, The March from “1941” by John Williams, and the finale to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. May came, and with that, the band paid tribute to one of the greatest American composers to date: Leonard Bernstein. The band transferred operations to the Lexington Opera House and performed The Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story,” Divertimento (written for the Boston Symphony Orchestra on its 100th anniversary by Bernstein), and Suite from “Mass” that featured the phenomenal University of Kentucky Faculty Brass Quintet as special guest performers.

UK Faculty Brass Quintet
The UK Faculty Brass Quintet with CKCB Conductor Ben Hawkins at the Lexington Opera House

The band rehearsed for these concerts practically every Thursday from early September to the day of the concert. Hours upon hours. Members practiced at home for hours honing transitions, key changes, intervals, and other technical musical elements in the selections placed there by the composers and the arrangers.

Our conductor and assistant conductor put together programs, led rehearsals and made massive notations in the scores to help the band craft a holistic musical experience rather than just repeating a sequence of tones. The musicians in the band worked very hard to perfect this expression, too.

CKCB poster December 2017Band members moved chairs, stands, and percussion equipment. Family members took care of family business while band members rehearsed. Family members also provided financial and emotional support. Crews at the band’s venues (Transylvania University and the Lexington Opera House) configured stages, provided lighting, sound, and assisted with the heaps of paperwork that goes into putting a performance together. During all of this, a special committee was formed and, with the band’s input, rewrote the band’s bylaws and organizational structure to ensure the band’s continued vitality and continuity for the next several decades.

Books were balanced; attendance taken; music was purchased, borrowed, begged for, collated, distributed, and refiled and returned; performances were negotiated, documents signed, meetings led; equipment managed; sponsors were secured; websites and social media were administered; original poster art was graciously provided, minutes taken and communications made.

2018 March 4th posterWe made new band friends, and said goodbye to longtime band friends, as well as band friends who we didn’t get to know as much as we would like before circumstances separated us.

Throughout all these labors, what unites us and makes us a family is this: a love for hearing, making, and sharing music. That’s really it.

Through the generosity of our sponsors, band members, family members, friends, and associates, we are able to offer the audience the gift of music.  It’s easy to overlook the value of this gift, as one cannot take it home in a bucket, or park it in a garage, or hang it over a fireplace. But the power for change–such as emotional, political (just ask Shostakovich, whose very life depended upon pleasing Stalin through his compositions), and cognitive (research is providing many insights into the interaction of performing music on developing and developed brains) afforded by music is undeniable.

Bernstein PosterOn behalf of the band, I thank each of you for your contribution to the band’s mission, whether you are a valued audience member, band member, family member, sponsor, venue affiliate, or have in any way forwarded our band’s mission. Playing Bernstein’s West Side Story this last concert has given us an insight into the possibilities of story-telling through the emotional, social, and perhaps innate sensibilities we possess of making music. Each of you has written a note in the score that tells the story of our band. We have been composing this score for over 40 years, and we do not yet see the double bar line.

But wait…there’s more. Although we’re finished with our “regular season,” we have three more concerts this summer scheduled so far: Friday, June 29, 7 PM, Community Park, Bardstown, KY; Sunday, July 1, 7 PM, Wallis House, Garden Club of Kentucky, 616 Pleasant Street Paris, KY; and Saturday, July 7, 7 PM, University of Kentucky Arboretum, Lexington, KY. Check back here and on our Facebook page for additions or changes.





A Tale of Two Households

Any English major might be able to tell you that the title of this blog feature is a reference to the first line from the prologue to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet:Riverside Shakespeare

“Two households, both alike in dignity,  In fair Verona, where we lay our scene. From
ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life…”


I was a bit enthusiastic to break out my edition of the Riverside Shakespeare to review these lines. So where am I going with this? If you’ve read the previous blogs, you know CKCB is presenting many of Leonard Bernstein’s most loved selections on May 6 at 3 PM at the Lexington Opera House. One of the most well-known of his works is West Side Story. That Broadway play itself was informed by Romeo and Juliet(R&J was itself informed by a 3,000 line long poem–thanks, Riverside–so nothing is new in Hollywood, Broadway, or Verona, for that matter.) But a great play is a great play, and great music is great music.

Les Anderson is the assistant conductor for CKCB and will be conducting Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.

Bernstein PosterSays Anderson of the selection, “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story is taken directly from the 1961 movie that won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, becoming the record holder for the most wins for a movie musical. The film has been deemed ‘culturally significant’ by the United States Library of Congress.”

When announcing the Bernstein playlist, Anderson was enthusiastic about conducting the piece.

“I saw the musical for the first time when I was ten years old, and I was awed by the music and story. That is why this performance is a ‘bucket list’ event for me.”

The band has been working very diligently on this selection. Bernstein’s mastery of sound and musical story-telling translates into very specific musical markings–entrances may be anywhere in the measure– and features many musical styles,  instrumental “special effects” and unconventional time signatures. 

Says Anderson of the difficulty of the selection, “This arrangement by Paul Lavender is true to the original music and not ‘watered down’ to make it easier for the musicians. As I told the band–this will be a growth experience for us all. The music has many challenges in the form of complex rhythms, several key signature changes, and tons of accidentals. Our players have lots of solo spots and technically difficult passages to play. The music is exciting, dramatic, and heart-rending. We hope that our performance will bring back memories of the listener’s experiences with West Side Story and its emotional impact.”

As with Anderson’s desire to perform West Side Story, Bernstein’s Divertimento for Orchestra (transcribed for symphonic band) is another selection that has been on CKCB conductor Ben Hawkins’ “to do” list. The Divertimento was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra on the occasion of its centennial. (Shameless plug: readers of this blog and faithful audience members of the band will remember that the CKCB commissioned a piece for its 40th anniversary–A Bluegrass Overture by Philip Sparke.)

Says Hawkins, “The Divertimento is a ‘first-timer’ for me, and a piece I have always wanted to do.”

The band is also performing Bernstein’s  Suite from Mass. Says Hawkins of the Suite, “This new arrangement of the suite struck me immediately as a great opportunity to pair the band with some fantastic players from our community, the University of Kentucky Faculty Brass Quintet.”

The CKCB is ecstatic to welcome quintet members Jason Dovel and Abby Temple on trumpet; David Elliott on horn; Bradley Kerns on tenor trombone; and J.D. Handshoe on bass trombone to the Lexington Opera House to perform Suite from Mass with the band.

Hawkins places much thought into programming the music for the concerts. He considers both the educational and aesthetic experience of the band, and the general enjoyment and spectacle of the selections for the audience.

Says Hawkins of his reasons for selecting  an arrangement based on Mass: A Theater Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers  for this concert, “Mass premiered at the opening of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, in 1971. It was commissioned by Jackie Kennedy. Although based on the Latin Mass, it introduces theatrical elements, as well as original text in English, including a snippet of verse by Paul Simon. Although I have never seen Mass performed, I was in high school in the DC area at the time of the premier, and have strong recollections of the excitement surrounding the opening of the the Kennedy Center.  A  number of revivals of the complete production have taken place during this Bernstein centennial year. I suspect that they won’t be the last. If nothing else, A Simple Song will always be in the vocal repertoire. It ranks right up there with West Side Story‘s Somewhere in its direct emotional message and melodic beauty.”

Hawkins notes for all the selections in this concert celebrating Bernstein’s 100th birthday, “These pieces represent a nice sampling of both his concert music and his music for the theater.”

Even though things didn’t work out for Romeo and Juliet, or Maria and Tony, for that matter, the CKCB guarantees a great afternoon of Bernstein. But please, if you are of the House of Capulet or Montague, or a Shark or a Jet, rumble after the concert.

Interested in joining us for an afternoon of music? The Central Kentucky Concert Band will be performing many selections by Leonard Bernstein on Sunday, May 6 at 3 pm at the Lexington Opera House. Admission to the concert is free and no tickets are required.


Bernstein: Lexington Opera House, May 6th

Leonard Bernstein would have been 100 years old this year. His composing, conducting, and character leave a legacy that will be remembered indefinitely.

The Central Kentucky Concert Band, along with special guest artists, the brilliant University of Kentucky Faculty Brass Quintet, will present Bernstein’s Overture to ‘Candide’, Symphonic Dances from West Side Story,  Divertimento for Symphonic Band,  and Suite from Mass at the Lexington Opera House on May 6th at 3PM. There is no charge for admission and no tickets are required.

Experience the mastery of Bernstein in one of Lexington’s most architecturally-significant venues.

Keep up with the band on Facebook at: Central Kentucky Concert Band.