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Oakhurst Community Band “Celebrate America” concert this Sunday

Gavin Ryan, 13, and brother Logan, 16, are two talented musicians playing with the Oakhurst Community Band this Sunday in the free “Celebrate America” concert at Mountain Christian Center.
Gavin Ryan, 13, and brother Logan, 16, are two talented musicians playing with the Oakhurst Community Band this Sunday in the free “Celebrate America” concert at Mountain Christian Center. Sierra Star

The Oakhurst Community Band will celebrate America and honor those who have served in the military with a concert at 3 p.m. this Sunday at Mountain Christian Center.

In keeping with the “Celebrate America” theme, the band will perform America the Beautiful, God Bless America, two John Philip Sousa marches, and Armed Forces Salute.

Natalie Samuelson, a junior at Chawanakee Academy, an independent study/home school program, will accompany the band on the harp for Josef Franz Wagner’s America the Beautiful.

Under the direction of Michael Corrigan, the band will offer two George Gershwin originals: Selections From Porgy and Bess and They Can’t Take That Away From Me. Shenandoah and Star Trek will also be included in the program.

Bill Samuelson will conduct the Oakhurst Community Jazz Band in Groovin’ High by Dizzy Gillespie, In Summer (from the movie Frozen) by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade.

“The Community Band Patriotic Concert is a great place to celebrate our blessed country as well as the unique community in which we live,” said Samuelson. “[It is] truly an event for all ages.”

Band members practice weekly as a group. They range in age from teenagers to octogenarians.

Two of the members performing in their second concert with the band are brothers Logan and Gavin Ryan. Logan, 16, attends Glacier High School where he will be a junior next year. He is enrolled in the band class at Yosemite High School where he plays the upright bass. Next year, he also wants to learn how to play the tuba.

Logan began playing the electric bass in the sixth grade. His father died when he was 3 and, later, when his grandmother showed him an electric bass that his father had owned, he was intrigued by this instrument that had four strings. “I didn’t know what it was but it had strings,” Logan laughed.

Through a combination of videos, other online resources and formal music instruction from Corey Nordal at Sinaloa Junior High in Simi Valley, Logan has learned to play the electric bass, guitar, mallets and piano.

Younger brother, Gavin, 13, attends Oak Creek Intermediate school where he will enter the eighth grade in the fall and plays baritone in the Community Band. He also plays the trumpet, bass guitar and the instrument he finds most challenging, the alto saxophone.

He saved birthday and Christmas money, and also money earned from mowing lawns, to purchase his own alto saxophone.

“It’s amazing what he has done,” said mother Dawn Ryan-Keller, as she explains that Gavin has had four ear surgeries due to complications from extreme allergies.

Pat Mierkey will also be conducting pieces for the free concert. While there is no admission charge, donations are accepted to allow the band to purchase music, make some instrument repairs and to purchase other needed supplies.

Mountain Christian Center is located at 40299 Highway 49 in Oakhurst.

Additional information on the band, a nonprofit public benefit corporation, is available at www.oakhurstband.com or by calling (559) 760-3849.

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