American Band College returns

The American Band College Band, now in its 22nd year, returns to Southern Oregon for its annual summer concert, featuring the world premiere of commissioned work, "Kitty O'Shea's at the Crate."

The show is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June, 26, at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theatre, 21 S. Central Ave., Medford.

The ABC Band includes two, 110-member bands comprising band directors from 40 states and five countries. Most of the directors are enrolled in the ABC, a master's program which previously operated out of Southern Oregon University, but now operates as a distance-learning program through Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Besides its online classes and exams, the three-year program requires students to attend two sessions each summer in Ashland.

The first session, June 21-26, culminates in the Craterian concert. The second session, June 29-July 4, culminates in the annual July Fourth Ashland Fireworks Concert.

This year's guest conductors for the program at the Craterian are Frank Wickes, Bruce Dinkins and Dutch composer Johan de Meij. The guest soloist will be saxophonist Scott Plugge.

The concert will be split between both bands and conclude with Johan de Meij's work, "At Kitty O'Shea's." This work was commissioned by the ABC and will feature six Irish tunes, including the well-known tune, "The Darling Girl from Clare," and "Deirin Day," the earliest Celtic folk song ever written. The 16-minute piece will end with a free-for-all of many famous jigs and reels played with traditional Irish instruments, says Max McKee, founder of the ABC.

The two bands will be joined by the ABC Jazz Ensemble for their annual July Fourth Fireworks Concert held at 7:30 p.m. at the Ashland High School football stadium. Guest conductors are Mike Bankhead, Paula Crider and Tim Lautzenheiser. The performance also will feature guest soloist, trombonist Harry Watters.

The highlight of this performance will be a 25-song tribute to beloved American composer Irving Berlin, featuring favorites such as "God Bless America" and "White Christmas."

"It's ancient music, but it's stayed popular until today because it's so well written," says McKee.

A narration and corresponding video will accompany the set.

Following the tribute, the band will perform 30 minutes of marches, Americana and Berlin tunes to accompany the Ashland firework display overhead.

Tickets for the Craterian concert are $18 for adults, $13 for seniors, $7 for children under 12. Tickets are available online at, at Cripple Creek Music in Ashland and through the Craterian box office at 541-779-3000. Tickets for the Fourth of July concert are $18 for adults, $13 for seniors, free for children under 12 and are available at, at Cripple Creek Music in Ashland and at the door.

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