Free Starlight Concerts begin

At age 65, many Americans are thinking of retiring, spending time with their grandkids and generally slowing down.  But one Oklahoma icon is becoming more hip with age.  Starlight Band is not only still going strong, but is connecting with fans on Facebook and Twitter now promoting the first free concert of the season Tuesday, June 14, at 8 pm.

“We want to strengthen the connection we have with our audience,” said L. Dale Barnett,Starlight’s Chair and Music Director.  “We have many loyal followers and we want to invite them all to celebrate 65 years with us,” Barnett added.  “Our fans can get up-to-the-minute information about us and our free concerts by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter.”

Starlight Band is Oklahoma’s only professional concert band and is comprised over 40 of Green Country’s finest musicians.  It is one of only a handful of professional concerts bands in the United States.  The tradition of Starlight’s free summer concerts started in 1947 as a continuation of the Depression-era Works Progress Administration concerts. In the beginning, the concerts were held atop flatbed trucks at the Tulsa Fairgrounds. They later moved to Skelly Stadium at the University of Tulsa and then settled at the current location of the River West Festival Park. Conductors have included Paul Comisky, Jimmie Saied, Don Linde, George Brite, Frank Ryan, Dean Coale and Barnett.

Starlight’s first concert of 2011 will be June 14 at 8pm. “A Midsummer Night’s Medley” is sponsored in part by First Fidelity Bank. Selections for the evening include Gilbert and Sullivan Soufflé, A Touch of Cohan, and Alpha and Omega March which includes beginnings and endings to 17 popular marches. During Intermission, Andrea Leap with LOOK Musical Theater will give a sneak peek into its upcoming summer schedule. Other special guests for the evening include Members of the Tulsa Astronomy Club who will set up high power telescopes for star gazing and answer questions about the night sky.

Other 2011 concert dates are June 21 “Americana Night”; June 28 “Going to Kansas City”; July 12 “Night at the Movies”; July 19 “Night at the Museum”; and July 26 “Woody, Stan and The Royals.”  A 65th birthday party is planned for June 21.

Starlight’s concerts are ideal entertainment for the entire family.  River West Festival Park is located at 2100 South Jackson.  The park has free parking and is accessible to those with disabilities.  Concessions will be available.  The public is invited to bring blankets, lawn chairs, picnic dinners and pet dogs on leashes.

Guarantor sponsors for the 2011 season are the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Treeman Family Foundation in honor of Jeff Treeman. Other major sponsors include: Cedar Creek, Circle Cinema, Creative State, First Fidelity Bank, Liberty Press, Local 94: American Federation of Musicians, the Music Performance Trust Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, Public Radio Tulsa: KWGS/KWTU, Saied Music Company and The Jimmie & Helen Saied Foundation, Tulsa River Parks Authority, Universal Combustion Corporation, Waters Charitable Foundation and The Charles & Marion Weber Foundation in memory of Dr. Charles E. and Marion L. Weber.

For more information, go online to or under Starlight Bands on both social media sites Facebook and Twitter.