Summer music concerts and Long Beach go together like every cliché you can think of.
So get ready for the Long Beach Municipal Band’s 113th season, which will feature six weeks of concerts across the city from June 28 to August 5. The 40-piece band won’t be the only musical entertainment as a few city council members will also be performing music in their neighborhoods.
The City Orchestra will once again be conducted by Kurt Curtis, son of longtime bandleader Larry Curtis. Larry Curtis passed away in June 2020, but he remains a constant companion to his son.
“He was such a big influence on me,” Curtis said of his dad. “I studied music at Long Beach State and he was my teacher. I just think about how I relate to music and how it always connected on such an emotional level; it’s strongly engraved in my body.
The young Curtis played in the Municipal Band for 25 years under the baton of his father. Curtis said he had so much respect for how his father connected to musicians and audiences.
“When I schedule gigs, I review his notes and writings about how he scheduled gigs,” Curtis said. “He’s been a great guide through it all.”
Curtis only had two weeks to lead the group last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. He said he thought the shows this season would be well supported by viewers.
“We had a taste last summer for two weeks and it was extremely exciting,” he said. “I just feel a sense of joy, camaraderie and family and that’s what the Municipal Band stands for. We will have incredible support for the band and the city once we get the crowd and the musicians together.
Each week’s concert, as usual, will have a theme, Curtis said. These themes are:
- Week 1: United We Stand, featuring patriotic music with singer Meloney Collins.
- Week 2: Give My Regards to Broadway, with the first show tunes and singer Crystal Lewis.
- Week 3: Legends of Song, highlighting music from Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Stevie Wonder, among others. The vocalists are Nicole Kubis and Meloney Collins, in tribute to Barbara Morrison.
- Week 4: Let’s Dance, a spotlight on different dance styles, from Riverdance to Conga. Tony Galla is the singer.
- Week 5: Cinema Classics, with tunes from “Wizard of Oz” to “Star Wars,” with Mark Kopitzke as lead singer.
- Week 6: Ragtime, offering all the jazz, from the early 1910s to the late 1920s, with singer Nicole Kubis.
Performances start at 6:30 p.m.
Depending on the day of the week, you can see the Municipal Music at these places:
- June 28 and July 5 (Tuesdays): Whaley Park, 5620 E. Atherton St.
- July 12, 19 and 26 (Tuesdays): Bluff Park, 2500 E. Ocean Blvd.
- August 2 (Tuesday): Veterans Park, 101 E. 28th St.
- Wednesdays, June 29 to August 3: Los Cerritos Park, 3750 Del Mar Ave.
- Thursdays, June 30 to August 4: Conductor Larry Curtis Concert Park at Marine Stadium, 5255 E. Paoli Way.
- Fridays, July 1 through August 5: El Dorado Park West, 7550 E. Spring St.
The Long Beach Community Band, which has existed since 1947, will give four concerts this summer, each at 6:15 p.m.:
- June 29: MacArthur Park, 1321 E. Anaheim St.
- July 11: Bixby Park, 130 Cherry Ave.
- July 27: Houghton Park, 6301 Myrtle Ave.
- August 17: Drake Park, 951 Maine Ave.
The El Dorado Park Nature Center, 7550 E. Spring St., will also host a summer concert series.
The concerts will take place every other Thursday. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and concerts are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Members of the Friends of El Dorado Nature Center can enter at 6 p.m.
Bring an eco-friendly dinner and low chairs. Call 562-570-1745 for more information.
Here are the dates and scheduled groups:
- June 16: Big City Hillbillies (rock and country).
- June 30: Steel Parade (calypso).
- July 14: The Salty Suites (from old Ireland to current hits).
- July 28: Sligo Rags (Celtic, jazz and bluegrass).
- August 11: Corday (rock).
- August 25: JP McDermott and Western Bop (rockabilly and honky tonk).
Additionally, a free late summer concert is scheduled for Friday, August 6 at Marine Stadium Park, 5255 Paoli Way, featuring Under Cover Band, playing music from the 80s, 90s and today. The concert is due to start at 6 p.m. For more information, call 562-570-3150.
Long Beach City Council members want their constituents to listen to the music, too.
First District Counselors Mary Zendejas will present the Long Beach Blues Society 2022 Free Summer Concert Series from 3-5 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month at the Cesar Chavez Amphitheater, 401 Golden Ave. For more details, visit longbeachbluessociety.org.
Suzie Price in the Third District is collaborating with the Friends of Belmont Shore for a concert August 11 from 6-8 p.m. at Conductor Larry Curtis Concert Park, featuring Jumping Jack Flash.
And the Uptown Jazz Festival will take place from noon to 6 p.m. on August 27 in Rex Richardson’s Ninth Ward at Houghton Park, 6301 Myrtle Ave.
“The city always felt like it wanted to feel connected again and feel more about what life was like the last two years,” Curtis said. “I think we will see a resurgence in the arts again. This stuff in life is so important. We are ready to dive into artistically exciting times and I know the city will enthusiastically support us.