One of Modesto's favorite family summer traditions kicks off Thursday with the launch of free MoBand concerts at Graceada Park's Mancini Bowl amphitheater.
The 100-plus volunteer musicians, who range from age 13 to senior citizens, perform every Thursday at 8 p.m. June 7 through July 12.
The biggest fans arrive at the park early in the morning so they can spread out blankets to hold their seats. Audience members bring picnic dinners and use the concert to socialize and catch up with neighbors and friends.
Formally known as the Modesto Band of Stanislaus County, MoBand is now in its 93rd season and is one of the oldest community bands in the United States.
Membership is open to all musicians in Stanislaus County. There are no auditions. Anyone who wants to participate just has to show up for rehearsals, held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays beginning Monday at Mancini Hall on Tuolumne Boulevard. in Modesto, next to Municipal Golf Course.
The band director is George Gardner.
This year's theme is "CELEBRATE! the Music of the Night."
June 7: Cruizin'-n-Groovin'. A variety of crowd-pleasing music to get the season started. The band will perform music of the 1950s and '60s to help kick off Modesto's monthlong Graffiti Summer festivities.
June 14: Classical Gas. Rock 'n' roll and familiar classical music presented MoBand style.
June 21: Red, White ... A salute to America, the band's annual Fourth of July musical celebration.
July 5: ... And Blue. A continued celebration of American independence with a program filled with patriotic selections.
July 12: Summer's Best. Musicians reprise the best selections of the summer.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursdays, June 7 through July 12
WHERE: Mancini Bowl, Graceada Park, Sycamore Avenue and Needham Street, Modesto
ONLINE: www. modestoband.org and www.twitter.com/mobandmodesto and Facebook (search Modesto Band of Stanislaus County)