Dexter Community Band Warms Up Winter with a Free Concert that’s All About Dancing


By Todd Nissen

If you gotta dance — or want to hear dance music — the Dexter Community Band has an afternoon planned for you.

At 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 5, the band will be performing an eclectic variety of dance compositions assembled by Director William W. Gourley with inspiration from folk traditions, ballet, musicals and familiar Big Band themes. Admission is free.

How eclectic? Take Armenian Dances by Alfred Reed. If this piece is any indication, Armenians can teach a graduate course in complex rhythms. It has no fewer than six time signatures. Watch for Director Gourley’s downbeat in the 5/8 section. We will be. And keep your fingers crossed we all finish at the same time (Don’t worry, we will. We’ve been rehearsing it a lot.)

Then there’s Pineapple Poll, a ballet based on the music of Gilbert and Sullivan, those flamboyant and theatrical Victorians who loved the absurd. Pineapple Poll remains in the repertoire of the Birmingham Royal Ballet in the U.K., so you know it’s got class.

How can you have a dance music concert without some Fiddler on the Roof? You can’t, so we’ll be performing Symphonic Dances, a collection of five works from the iconic musical, including the famous Bottle Dance. Unless the percussion tries some antics — and you can’t really trust drummers with all their noisemaking toys back there — none of us will be balancing bottles on our heads.

Also on the program will be Annen Polka by Johann Strauss and a Big Band tribute arranged by John Wasson.

Finally, there is La Reine de la Mer, a waltz from John Philip Sousa. Wait — a waltz from the American king of marches? It’s true. Sousa composed operettas, popular songs and waltzes in addition to his 136 marches.

La Reine de la Mer was chosen as one of the numbers for Sousa's farewell concert with the U.S. Marine Band in 1892. Sousa loved the waltz so much he has five of the sections repeating themselves.

That’s a lot of Sousa in three-quarters time, especially for the trumpets playing first part (they basically get no rest). For that reason, we will only be taking second endings, you can be on time for Sunday dinner and the first trumpets can live to play another day.

The concert takes place at the Center for Performing Arts in Dexter High School, 2200 North Parker Road, Dexter.

While mask wearing is optional, a supply of masks will be made available.

Founded in 1982, the Dexter Community Band is comprised of volunteer musicians from the local area. A registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the band performs professional-level symphonic wind music at four free concerts a year. There are also several free “Evening of Ensembles” featuring small groups from the band. For additional information about the band or how to provide financial support, please visit

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