Featured artist Sophie Browning

ALTON – The Alton Municipal Band kicks off WEEK 3 of its Concerts in the Park series with a terrific jazz ensemble scheduled to perform at Riverview Park Thursday, June 24th at 8pm under the direction of jazz master Tim Jarden. Known to many around the area as “Third Coast” the group is comprised of local music educators who play music in a variety of styles, including Jazz, Standards, Latin, Blues, Fusion, Ballads and Rock. Originally known as the Alton Landing Jazz Quintet, the group has seen several personnel changes; however, the latest iteration of the group includes two of the original members – Lewis & Clark Community College Jazz Director Tim Jarden and Alton School District Band Director Kenny King. Additional musicians include Alton School District Band Director Chris Jarden (trumpet/piano), Illini Middle School Band/Chorus Director Waylon Schroeder (saxophone) and special guest, recent Alton High School graduate Fletcher Leonard (percussionist). Tim says they rotate saxophone players and drummers who play in more than one band, and often perform in a variety of combinations.

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Sunday, June 27th at 7pm the full Alton Municipal Band will be back at Haskell Park performing outside near the Lucy Playhouse under the direction of Jennifer Shenberger. The theme for WEEK 3 is THREE’s COMPANY and will feature the talents of Sophie Browning on Clarinet. Sophie Browning is a clarinetist and music educator from St. Louis, MO. An avid chamber musician, she has performed frequently with the Nabla Trio, Gateway to the West Wind Quintet, and the Skware clarinet quartet. In addition to her chamber work, Sophie also enjoys collaborating with living composers and has premiered several works that have been accepted to festivals including the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (NYCEMF). Sophie has taught in the Southern Illinois and Metro-East area for several years and will be joining the School District of Clayton as a band director and woodwind specialist next year. A passionate music
educator, Sophie has presented research at the National Association for Music Education annual conference. She received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Clarinet Performance from Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville, where she studied with Dr. James “Mac” Hinson. Sophie just completed her Master of Music in Clarinet Performance at Bowling Green State University where she studied with Kevin Schempf and Georg Klaas.

Featured guest artist Dr. Marc SchapmanThank you to everyone who attended both concerts last week where we saw the debut of the Alton Municipal Band’s Woodwind Ensemble at Riverview Park on Thursday and the full band performance under the direction of David Drillinger at Haskell Park on Sunday. The Sunday performance featured guest artist Dr. Marc Schapman who currently serves as Professor of Voice and Director of SIUE Opera and Musical Theater. Schapman entertained the park audience with I Feel a Song Coming On, and opera favorites Funiculi Funicula and Nessun Dorma.

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Members of the newly formed AMB Woodwind Ensemble include Martha Roberts and Gail Drillinger on flute, Adam Rodgers on French Horn, Deborah Kelley on Clarinet, Ilene Morgan on Oboe and Gregory Van Asch on Bassoon. In addition to the concert at Riverview this ensemble performed last Saturday at the Alton Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market to a wonderful crowd of market shoppers. Adam Rodgers remarked, “This was the most fun I’ve had making music in a long time.” Martha Roberts has been a big part of the Alton Municipal Band since 1978 playing flute and piccolo, serving as the band manager for many years and on the board of directors. She has performed with the St. Louis Philharmonic and freelanced as a musician in the area for years. She has operated a homeschool band program, taught band at Mississippi Valley Christian School and is well known to many students who took private lessons from her. She met her husband Lloyd who plays trumpet while in the band, and they both continue to be active supporters of all band activities. Gail Drillinger serves as the band’s announcer for performances and plays the flute and piccolo. Outside of band, she is active with the Alton Little Theater and sings at the Evangelical UCC. She and husband David live in Godfrey. Adam Rodgers is in his 14th season with the Alton Municipal Band. His primary instruments are piano and French horn. Many may have seen him perform at the dedication of the Cousley Sunken Gardens last year. Adam Rodgers has spent the last seven years serving as a music educator in the Parkway School District in Chesterfield, Missouri, where he regularly accompanies students for contests and auditions. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Music Education at Illinois State University in 2012, and in 2020, graduated from Eastern Illinois University with his Master’s degree in Music Education. He serves on the board of directors as Vice President and is the Kiddie March Coordinator this year. Deborah Kelley has been a member of the Alton Municipal Band for 32 years performing clarinet. She has served as the band’s assistant manager and on the board for many years. She teaches private music lessons and has been an instructor at Lewis and Clark Community College. She
often performs with the Alton Symphony Orchestra and in productions for the Looking Glass Playhouse in Lebanon, Illinois. Greg Van Asch has been playing bassoon with the band for four years and works for Stifel Financial in St. Louis as a bond processor. Greg often performs with the Alton Symphony Orchestra, loves playing with his dog and trivia around the St. Louis area. Ilene Morgan on Oboe is a retired math professor. She retired from Missouri S&T (in Rolla) in 2017 and moved to the St. Louis area in 2019. She has participated in a variety of musical ensembles and particularly enjoys musicals and chamber music. This is her first summer with the Alton Municipal Band. This ensemble is scheduled to perform at the Alton Farmers’ and Artisan’s Market again in July.

This 131st consecutive season of Summer Concerts in the Parks looks a bit different than in the past but remains a 9-week season with performances on Thursdays at Riverview Park at 8pm and Sundays at Haskell Park at 7pm. Ensembles will be featured June 24th, July 1st and July 8th at Riverview Park as the Alton Municipal Band eases back into its season. The full band will continue to perform at Haskell Park where players and audience can spread out and social distance through August 8th. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own seating and follow the state and city health and safety guidelines for social distancing and mask wearing particularly for those that are non-vaccinated. The full band will return to Riverview Park starting July 15th WEEK 6 themed LET’S GO under the direction of David Drillinger with guest vocalist Sue Parton Stanard. Residents can find out what else is going by accessing the Alton Municipal Band season concert program flyer from the city website.

We welcome and encourage the community to visit the parks for some quality outdoor time together with family and friends and come listen to some of the best music around. The city’s continuing support for these FREE outdoor concerts is a wonderful Alton tradition dating back to 1891. Anyone interested in making a donation to further support expanded ensemble performances and concert activities can send a check to city hall payable to the Alton Municipal Band Special Fund or make donations on-line through the Alton city website. Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on the latest happenings, and feel free to share your memories, pictures and best band moments with the group. If you have other questions, let us know at [email protected] and thank you for your support.

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