For three years now, ever since I moved to the Lansing, Michigan, area and found out about the Red Cedar Festival of Community Bands, I’ve wanted to attend. The first year, when I mentioned it to my husband, he described it as “garbage”, thereby discouraging me from attending… somewhat. Last year, I again thought of going, but hesitated. Then, this year, I decided that just because he thinks it’s garbage, doesn’t mean that it is. And, since the festival is during the day, I don’t need him to drive me to it.* I put it on my to-do list for Saturday and went. I’m glad that I did. Garbage… not at all. There were 11 bands that played in the festival this year. The format is half-hour concerts by each band, with a 10-minute intermission in between concerts. I sat through three concerts, one each performed by the Meridian Community Band, the Grand Ledge Community Band, and the Downriver Community Band. Being in Meridian Township, it’s the Meridian Community Band that hosts this festival every year, now in its 18th year.
This festival is for anyone who likes to experience a variety of music. Where else can you hear moving pieces of music, a polka, a medley from the movie “The Great Race”, Greek folk music, and much more for free? (Well, donations are always welcome!) Not to mention, the quality of music is quite good. At one point when the Downriver Community Band performed “Promise of Living from Tender Land” by Aaron Copeland, if I didn’t know better, I could swear I was sitting in Orchestra Hall listening to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
For me, the best piece of the afternoon, was “Joy in All Things” by Brian Balmages, performed by the Meridian Community Band. I was literally tearing up during the flute solo. No exaggeration! Here’s a video of the piece performed by the California All-State Concert Band. Not as good as a live performance, but hopefully it will give you a taste of what I experienced at the Red Cedar Festival this year. Enjoy!
*For those of my readers who don’t know me personally, I stopped driving at night, unless the trip is short and/or necessary, due to sight issues. Recently, my ophthamologist gave me eye drops to, hopefully, help the problem. I have yet to test them out.