It’ll be a “SummerBration” every Thursday night at Modesto’s Graceada Park beginning this week.
MoBand returns Thursday, June 7, heralding its 99th season by featuring that SummerBration theme for 2018. This year’s concerts will mark the beginning of a year-long celebration of the band’s centennial season.
Founded in 1919 as the Modesto Boys’ Band, MoBand is one of the oldest continuously performing bands in the nation. Famed clarinetist Frank Mancini (namesake of Graceada Park’s Mancini Bowl, where the concerts are held) took charge shortly after it started and later changed the name to Modesto Band of Stanislaus County — now lovingly known for decades as MoBand.
The Thursday night concerts have become a tradition for the thousands who turn out to spread their blankets, listen to music and socialize during valley summer evenings. Longtime MoBand conductor George Gardner returns to lead the band this season.
“As always, this year’s selection of music will have something for everyone: patriotic music, light classical, movie themes, rock ’n’ roll classics, and of course, plenty of marches,” Gardner wrote in a press release.
Gardner has been leading MoBand since 1978. Today, the community band brings together musicians of all ages and skill levels with an average membership of more than 250 performers, he said. Player ages typically range from the teens to the 70s and the band is open to all musicians in Stanislaus County who have graduated from the eighth grade.
This year’s concert dates and themes are:
▪ June 7 — Modesto Graffiti
▪ June 14 — 78s and 45s
▪ June 21 — Shake it Up
▪ June 28 — USA Fever
▪ July 5 — Holiday Leftovers
▪ July 12 — This One’s For You
The concerts are always free and begin at 8 p.m. Thursdays at the outdoor bowl located near Needham Street and Sycamore Avenue.
People who would like to financially support MoBand’s efforts can join the annual “Night at the Bowl” from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, at Mancini Bowl. The fundraiser benefits the band as well as the Modesto Parks and Recreation Department and features wine and beer tastings, food samplings and live music. Tickets are $40 at the door but are available in advance for $35, $60 for two, at Gottschalk’s Music Center and the city’s parks and rec department. For information on the fundraiser, call 209-577-5344.
For more on MoBand, see www.moband.org.