The Band of the California Battalion will perform at Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site on Sunday, Aug. 28, from 5:30pm to 7pm, coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s commencement.
The group, centered at Long Beach City College, accurately portrays a battalion band of the Union Army and will be performing the era’s most rousing tunes on period instruments. The outdoor concert will be free and open to the public.
A group such as the Band of the California Battalion would have been expected to provide music for all military occasions. A typical band would have performed for military formations, parades, dances, social events, and religious services, as well as during actual battles. A hearty meal and a good band were what kept Civil War soldiers fighting, and many regiments owed their success to the motivation provided by these ensembles.
The band is composed entirely of a single family of brass instruments, called sax horns, which were developed by Adolph Sax (the inventor of the saxophone). There are no French horns or trombones in the band, as these instruments were much too fragile to stand up to rigorous field usage in the 1860s. However, the timbre of the sax horns is versatile enough to compensate for the lack of these more mainstream instruments. When played softly, the sax horns produce a smooth blended tone; when played at forte, they create a bright and brassy sound.
This will be the final concert for the 2011 season, and it is underwritten by Friends of Rancho Los Cerritos in conjunction with Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site, Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine; donations are welcome. The Rancho is located at 4600 Virginia Rd., northwest of the intersection of Long Beach Boulevard and San Antonio Drive. Free public tours are offered Wednesday through Sunday from 1pm to 5pm.
Picnicking in the historic gardens is permitted after 4:30pm, when the gates open. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. Parking is limited to Virginia Road, so bicycles and carpooling are also encouraged; a shuttle service will be provided. Pets are not allowed.