Laguna Community Concert Band takes a musical journey ‘Around the World in 80 Minutes’

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A ‘musical treasure of Laguna Beach’ shares music from many cultures in their first concert of the year

The 50-member Laguna Community Concert Band will kick off its 25th season by traveling “Around the World in 80 Minutes” during their first concert of 2024 at the Artists’ Theatre at Laguna Beach High School, Sunday, April 7, at 2 p.m.

The Laguna Community Concert Band. Photo courtesy of Peyton Webster

The eclectic and exciting program has been months in the making. The concert will begin with the theme from “Around the World in 80 Days,” setting the tone for a musical journey that includes Britain, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Russia, Tunisia, China, the Caribbean, Mexico, and of course the United States. As an additional treat, Laguna Beach High School sophomore Eliana Merritt will return to provide dance interpretations of “Up” and “Around the World.”

“We’re all delighted Eliana could perform with us again,” said director Mark Lowery. “Her dance solo last year was a special moment in our performances, and these kinds of collaborations are central to our mission of supporting the arts in Laguna Beach.”

Audience members at this concert will take an “Italian Holiday,” spend “A Night in Tunisia,” and enjoy a “Dragon Boat Festival.” Other program highlights include Shostakovich’s thrilling collection of “Folk Dances” and Johann Strauss’s amusing “Tritsch-Tratsch Polka.”

Assistant Director Jennifer Baker made a special effort to curate a program that represented as many musical styles as possible in the time allotted. “It was a challenge to put together a program that would truly span the world in such a short time, and I tried as best as possible to follow the route of the travelers in the original movie. Including a piece written to commemorate Amelia Earhart and her epic journey helped us cross the Pacific Ocean. We’re proud of how the program came together, and I think the audience will enjoy this mix of new and familiar music.”

Like all Laguna Community Concert Band performances, this concert is free, and no tickets or reservations are required. Following the concert, audience members can show their program at the Lumberyard, 384 Forest Avenue #10, to donate 15% of their meal cost to the band.

Upcoming Concert Band performances include a Memorial Day “American Salute” on the Cobblestones at Laguna Main Beach with the Laguna JaZz Band (JaZz Band at 11 a.m., Concert Band at 12:30 p.m.). The JaZz Band will be the featured entertainment for the Annual Art Star Awards at the Festival of Arts on Friday, April 26, at 5 p.m., and will be featured at the Fête de la Musique on Saturday, June 15, at Main Beach at 11 a.m.

For more information on upcoming concerts, to book an appearance, or if you would like to play with the band, visit www.lagunaconcertband.com.

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