There will be music in the air and water in the background for the Columbia Lakefront Summer Concert Series' upcoming free programs: the Columbia Concert Band on Sunday, Aug. 10, at 6:30 p.m., and the Columbia Jazz Band on Wednesday, Aug. 13, at 8 p.m.
These two community bands composed mostly of amateur musicians are administratively partnered in Columbia Bands, Inc. They perform throughout the year at indoor venues in the area, and come summer they head outside like the rest of us. The downtown lakefront is a natural choice by way of a stage.
When organizing such programs, music directors must take into account what will play well to a crowd gathered in the summer twilight.
"For an outdoor concert in the summer, acoustically there will be kids playing and people talking. You would not want to do a heavier piece with a flute solo where you have to listen for nuance, because not every person will have that level of attention," said Robert Miller, interim music director of the Columbia Concert Band.
Miller knows the Columbia Concert Band well, having served as its music director from 1989 to 2000. The band itself goes back to 1983.
This 57-year-old Columbia resident also has a job that keeps him musically busy during the school year, because Miller is the longtime band conductor at Hammond Middle School.
For the upcoming lakeside concert, Miller oversees an eclectic program.
Among the selections are a medley of soul music from the film "The Blues Brothers," marches by John Philip Sousa, a medley of movie soundtrack themes by composer Jerry Goldsmith including "Star Trek," and a medley of Elton John's pop music hits.
These selections will be performed by around 75 musicians, among them Miller's 22-year-old daughter Arielle playing percussion.
The Columbia Jazz Band's upcoming concert comes as the group is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Pete BarenBregge, who has been its music director since 2002, took the group on a European tour in July that involved 7 concerts in 14 days in southern France and northern Spain.
"These jazz festivals are prestigious and we did Howard County proud," Barenbregge said shortly after returning from the trip.
Former music director of the Air Force-affiliated jazz band the Airmen of Note and currently jazz editor at Alfred Music Publishing, Barenbrugge, 65, lives in Upper Marlboro in Prince George's County.
Echoing Miller's comments, he noted: "For an outdoor concert, my philosophy is to do something upbeat and not too involved or complicated."
The upcoming jazz concert, which features vocalists Matthew Williams and Jill Sandler, will have selections including Benny Golson's "Whisper Not" and John Scofield's "I'll Take Les."
Also on the concert will be jazz arrangements done by Los Angeles-based composer, band leader, saxophonist and pianist Gordon Goodwin.
And, Goodwin himself will appear with the Columbia Jazz Band at a Sept. 19 concert at Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake, where the Columbia Jazz Band will be joined by the Wilde Lake High School Jazz Band.
In working with his 25-member Columbia Jazz Band, Barenbrugge said, "My goal as director is to be something of a teacher and to get a lot of people involved."