'Great slice of Americana'


Matt Stamey/Staff photographer/file The annual pre-Fourth of July celebration, “Fanfares & Fireworks,” returns to the University of Florida's Flavet Field, starting at 7 p.m. Thursday..

Published: Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 8:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 8:56 a.m.

Gainesville's “Fanfares & Fireworks” traditionally celebrates Independence Day with a blend of live music and aerial pyrotechnics, and this year's event offers some new musical fireworks to go along with the colors in the sky.

“Fanfares & Fireworks” returns at 7 tonight to the University of Florida's Flavet Field and features a variety of musical groups including contemporary jazz from Ricky Stano and Mindwalk, pop and rock from InCrisis Band, and traditional favorites by the Gainesville Community Band, which will be conducted for the first time by Gary Langford.

The UF Billy Mitchell Drill Team color guard also will join the band during a salute to the armed forces in which veterans are encouraged to stand up in honor of serving in the military.

The event concludes with a fireworks display at about 9:40 p.m. presented by Skylighters of Florida and will be set to music played by the Gainesville Community Band.

The event is presented by the UF College of Journalism and Communications and its public broadcasting stations, and is sponsored by the city of Gainesville, UF Health, Florida Credit Union, GRU and UF. Division of Multimedia Properties Executive Director Randy Wright and WUFT News Manager Myra Monroe will serve as emcees.

Traditionally offered on July 3, “Fanfares & Fireworks” is presented as an old-time America celebration and acts as a kickoff event for the weekend, said Sue Wagner, director of community relations for the journalism college.

“It's a really great slice of Americana for the holiday,” she said.

Langford said he was asked to lead the Gainesville Community Band this year after conductor Gerald Poe recently retired.

A member of the Gainesville Community Band whose 37 years at UF included stints as director of the concert, marching and jazz bands, Langford said “Fanfares & Fireworks” is an anticipated event because it's the band's last concert of the year until the fall.

“It's a wonderful family friendly event,” he said.

The band's performance tonight will include a variety of music from movies including “Frozen,” “Jersey Boys” and “The Lion King,” along with traditional marching band music.

Also new this year is the performance by the InCrisis Band, Wagner said.

Members of InCrisis include Chris Silver, dean of the College of Design, Construction and Planning; Bob Jerry, the former dean of UF's law school, and several architecture professors and a UF computer programmer, Wagner said.

“It's kind of got the UF focus that it's all these faculty and staff that have come together to create this band,” she said.

The band has also performed at other venues and events including UF's Gator Growl.

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