Kurt, who played trumpet in the band for 25 years, recently retired as conductor of the Disneyland Band and is now able to turn much more of his attention and energy toward the Municipal Band.
“I just want to enjoy focusing on the Municipal Band,” he said. “It’s been such a huge part of my life.”
When he talks about what the band “stands for,” he’s referring to much more than music. For him, it is about community, a coming together of families, friends and neighbors. He describes seeing young kids entranced, many times experiencing live music for the first time.
“You’ll be playing and you’ll see people laughing, kicking a soccer ball around while they’re listening,” he said. “It’s all such a throwback to a simpler time.”
Though Curtis says he has a “thing” for Broadway, he acknowledges that the movie music program, “Cinema Classics,” featuring works by film score legends John Williams, Alan Menken and Jerry Goldsmith, is always very popular, the irony being that “a lot of the musicians that play with us, worked on the studio sessions for the same movie music.”
Of course, anyone involved in music will tell you, there’s a big difference between playing in a studio and performing before an audience. And since the last couple of years have robbed most musicians of the opportunity to play live, Curtis says his musicians are very eager to get back in front of an audience and make the connection that makes performing “magical.”
“We live for those moments where we can connect with our audience,” he said. “We put time in the studio to be great at our craft, but the musical magic happens with the audience. It’s an emotional rush, it’s why we play; to inspire, and they’re part of it. That feedback, that connection with the audience, where the whole community culminates with this emotional crescendo. I can’t wait!”
The Long Beach Municipal Band begins its summer program with a weeklong performance of “United We Stand” on Tuesday, June 28 at Whaley Park (5620 Atherton St.), followed by performances Wed. June 29 at Los Cerritos Park (3750 Del Mar Ave.), Thursday, June 30 at Marine Stadium (5255 E. Paoli Way) and Friday, July 1 at El Dorado Park West (2800 Studebaker Rd.).
All performances are free and begin at 6:30 p.m.
For more information about any upcoming Municipal Band performances, click here.