Out of the concert hall and back downtown: Farmington Concert Band to close out season at Riley Park

What’s happening: On Monday, July 25, the Farmington Concert Band is set to close out its 56th season at downtown Farmington’s Riley Park. Closing their season in downtown Farmington is a tradition that started five or so years ago, says Jim Liska, clarinetist and Vice President of Marketing & Communications for the band, and one that the FCB is excited to continue.

Why it’s important: “It’s important to have that connection to Farmington and it’s an ideal setting and venue. It’s a marvelous spot and so intimate, and we always have a huge crowd come out with lots of families and children,” Liska says. “Last year, our conductor even let some of the kids come up and help conduct the band during ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever.’”

What’s planned: The community concert at Riley Park is a fun one for the FCB, Liska says, where the band likes to mix up their set, with “the more serious songs,” as he puts it, balanced out with more familiar ones. There will be music from movies like the recent Disney film “Encanto,” “Black Panther,” and “The Greatest Showman,” as well as popular songs from Motown and The Beatles. The concert runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, July 25, at Riley Park and is free and open to the public.

FCB rebranded: This concert season is the first that the FCB has performed as the Farmington Concert Band; it was founded as the Farmington Community Band in 1966. The name change better reflects the quality of performance, Liska says. It also represents a fresh start for the band, which is in a bit of a rebuilding mode since the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Pre-pandemic, the FCB had more than 90 musicians. They’re currently at 60-plus musicians, and working to add more.

What they’re saying: “The new name more accurately represents the kind of band that we are. Words are important,” he says. “A community band can be 10 people. A concert band is more accurate; we play at a very high level. I don’t want to brag but we’re one of the best concert bands in the state and we strive for that.”

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.