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Annual Memorial Day concert returns

by Gemma Asel | May 25, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
The JC Community Band rehearses Tuesday at Helias for their Memorial Day concert to be held at 2:00 Monday at First Christian Church. (Ken Barnes/News Tribune)

All gave some and some gave all. It's a phrase that Jefferson City Community Band conductor Paul Hinman says holds a lot of truth.

"We truly embrace that and want people to understand how true that is. Those people that gave their lives so we can do what we do today, I mean, there's no way to thank them other than remember them the way we need to. And that's what Memorial Day does best, so that's what we're trying to do," Hinman said.

At the Jefferson City Community Band's annual Memorial Day concert, they focus on not only recognizing the current military members, veterans and families of military members, but they also strive to honor them throughout the performance.

"We appreciate so much what these people have done, these ladies and gentlemen who have served," Hinman said. "We just think it's so important to not forget."

The concert will be held at 2 p.m. May 29 at First Christian Church, 327 E. Capitol Ave.

The band began the Memorial Day concert when it first formed roughly 15 years ago and has been one of its most popular concerts ever since, according to Hinman.

The concert will feature plenty of music with Americana themes to it, starting off with "Semper Fidelis," the march that John Philip Sousa wrote and dedicated to the Marine Corps.

Also featured are old American sailing songs, such as sea shanties and hymns, as well as a piece written by Hans Zimmer from the HBO series "The Pacific," a series about the WWII battles in the Pacific.

Robert Smith, a longtime friend of Hinman, has composed two of the songs that will be performed at the Memorial Day concert. One of Smith's songs, "Stone Gardens," was inspired by Smith's first visit to a military cemetery. Hinman recalled a story from Smith about the experience of the visit.

"As he looked across the acres of gravestones, he said it just reminded him of a white garden against the green background," Hinman said.

The "Armed Forces Salute," a piece that uses the anthem for all of the five major military organizations including the army, navy, marines, air force and coast guard will be performed as they recognize those who have served, are currently serving or the families of those who have served.

And according to Hinman, no Memorial Day concert would be complete without "Stars and Stripes Forever," so they will be performing that as their final song.

"My favorite part is the response we get from those people that are either military, veterans or family of military veterans.," Hinman said. "They always at the end of the concert come up and say how appreciative they are for being remembered and being recognized and being valued for the things that they as individuals sacrificed. And that probably means more to me than anything else we do. That makes everything we do worthwhile, because when someone is that sincere about how they feel in that regard, you just feel good about yourself and feel good about the things you've done."

The concert is free to attend, but donations are suggested to help with the cost of signage, sheet music and other band costs.

Past Memorial Day concerts have filled up fast, so they encouraged you to arrive early to ensure a seat. This will be the final show of the season for the band, as the next season will begin in August.

"We think there's something for everyone, whether you're 80 years old or 8 years old," Hinman said.

The Jefferson City Community Band is always open to new members. If you are interested in joining the band, email the conductor Paul Hinman at [email protected] to learn more.

  photo  The JC Community Band rehearses Tuesday at Helias for their Memorial Day concert to be held at 2:00 Monday at First Christian Church. (Ken Barnes/News Tribune)

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