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The Southern Stars Symphonic Brass will stage its first concert since February at Cookeville’s Dogwood Park.

The Southern Stars Symphonic Brass will take the stage at 3 p.m. Oct. 18 to present a COVID-19 safe concert from Cookeville’s Dogwood Park.

This will be the Southern Stars’ first concert since February, when the COVID-19 pandemic postponed their season similar to most large scale entertainment locally and across the nation.

Symphonic orchestras, choral groups, community bands and live theater groups have curtailed rehearsals and performances, and most have eliminated their entire 2020-’21 seasons.

The Cumberland County Playhouse, to their credit, is one of the few theater ensembles in the nation that have kept the lights on. They, like the Southern Stars, deserve the community’s support.

Southern Stars musicians are eager to get together, as long as safety precautions are taken to protect themselves and the audience members. They enjoy making good music together and are providing this free concert as their gift to the area residents, to help raise the spirits of all who take advantage of listening to the event.

To accomplish a safe performance environment the musicians will be spaced 8 feet apart, will have special bell coverings (“masks” for the bells of the horns) and, where feasible, they will perform while wearing a mask with a slit cut in the front to all the mouthpiece to protrude to hook up with the instrument.

The public is welcome to attend the concert at Dogwood Park, 35 E. Broad St., behind the Police station and Performing ARTS Drama Center, Cookeville. A performing arts outdoor pavilion in the park has a tiered amphitheater that gives the audience a great place to watch and hear the Southern Stars in action. Social distancing of the audience is recommended.

The concert will be livestreamed on the Southern Stars Symphonic Brass’ Facebook. 

The concert will be about an hour in length, and the program will include a wide variety of music styles and genres to showcase the versatility of this outstanding professional instrumental ensemble.  

Concert selections will be John Williams’ stirring patriotic composition, “Summon the Heroes,” which will honor all the heroes serving during the COVID crisis;  “Amparito Roca,” a Spanish march; “America the Beautiful,” with a vocal by Emily McCormick; and “Georgia on My Mind,” a flugelhorn solo by Tennessee Tech University jazz professor Chris McCormick.

Also featured will be Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm;”  “Amazing Grace;” the big band classic “American Patrol;”  the classic “First Suite for Band” (Movt. 1)  by Holst;  Sousa’s “El Capitan” march: and, to get us in the mood for the Christmas season, “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson.

The Southern Stars are in their 14th season of providing a three-concert season in Crossville. The musicians are from the areas of Nashville, Cookeville, Murfreesboro, Crossville, Knoxville and Southeastern Kentucky. They include university music professors, secondary school music directors, and other careers who are also outstanding musicians.

Their conductor is Steven Sudduth, professor and head of the band program at the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, KY.  

They have produced three CDs and DVDs and were honored with invitations to perform at the Great American Brass Band Festival in Danville, KY, where they performed for audiences in the 5,000-8,000 range.