Sousa comes to Yardley

Preparations are well under way for the 15th Annual July 4th Concert at the Yardley Community Centre, located at 64 South Main Street. The concert is performed by the 55-piece Blawenburg Band, the oldest community band in the country. It has earned a reputation as a red, white and blue patriotic event.

It often includes audience participation, along with numerous marches written by John Phillip Sousa, known as “The March King.”

An audience favorite is the Salute to the Armed Forces, when audience members who have served in different branches are asked to stand when that branch’s theme song is played.

The Blawenburg Band specializes in Sousa music. The band is led by Dr. Jerry Rife, chairman of the music department at Rider College. His comments between songs are always well-received, adding to the enjoyment of the experience. The variety of compositions is always Dr. Rife’s most closely-guarded secret.

He, like all musicians who perform there, is always pleased with the excellent acoustics of the Centre. Proceeds from the concert will be used to continue improving the 150 year-old building.

Over the past 15 years nearly $225,000 worth of improvements have been made to the structure. An American flag will be given to each member of the audience.

Ticket prices remain at $15, and are available at Mil-Lees Restaurant, 75 South Main Street; Bucks Ship and Print in the Yardley Town Center; or by calling 215-493-0258.