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Three groups of musicians contribute to community by performing at the Sunnyside Park celebration
Published 7/3/2013 6:00:00 AM
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There's tradition behind the musicians who play before Pullman's Fourth of July fireworks, said the event coordinator at Pullman Chamber of Commerce.

Amberly Boone said the three performers, Dan Maher, the Community Band of the Palouse and The Fabulous Kingpins, have been leading up to the fireworks for many years.

"Our emphasis for the whole event is that it is family friendly," she said.

Boone said entire families will come together and dance to the music, both children and parents alike.

"They definitely liven it up," she said. "Even if people aren’t sitting on the grass, looking directly at (the musicians), focused solely on the music, it gives the whole park a very energetic feel."

The first band of the evening, the Community Band of the Palouse, started in 1974. Denise Snider, musical director of the band, said they will be performing well-known melodies, original compositions for band and patriotic music, including the national anthem.

"Music is an important part of any celebration, and the community band easily plays out-of-doors in the summer season," Snider said. "It is a very traditional part of American culture."

Snider is also hoping to reflect the message behind why we celebrate Independence Day.

"I think that for our July 4th concert we want to reflect on the history of our country and how fortunate we are to be Americans," she said. "It is a birthday party for the U.S.A. so we want to contribute to the celebration, without forgetting that our freedom comes at a great price. Music is such an important part of our history."

The middle show will consist of folk music performed by Dan Maher, an activities adviser at Student Involvement.

This singer started at 3 years old, and after attending school at WSU, he made Pullman his home.

"For 15 years I played at Rico’s," he said. "That’s where I really honed my skills."

Maher said he has been a part of the Fourth of July performance for almost 30 years.

"When Pullman actually just goes out on its own and does something for the sake of the community," he said. "I’ve always thought it was just a cool thing."

Maher said the music he will be playing is upbeat and ideal for singing along.

"We’re not used to thinking that maybe we can contribute to (the performance) as an audience," he said. "I view music as a total sharing experience."

The Fabulous Kingpins will be wrapping up the night's music and rocking out until the fireworks begin, said Dale Keeney, the drummer.

Keeney said the band has played at this community event for almost 15 years.

"I get paid to rock the house," he said. "There’s nobody cheering and dancing at your day job, is there? That’s what keeps me coming back: the joy it brings to the folks."

The Kingpins will be performing covers from Jimmy Buffet, LynyrdSkynyrd, AC/DC and other classic rock bands, Keeney said.

"We have all kinds of songs to choose from, so we can just observe how the audience is responding and go from there," he said. "We have five hours worth of material."

Keeney said his favorite part of this time of year is watching "a sea of people dance into the night."

The Chamber of Commerce receives support for the music from the Student Entertainment Board (SEB), Boone said.

"It really is a great relationship that we have with them, kind of this cool community-WSU partnership that really adds a lot to the event," she said.

The music will begin on stage in Sunnyside Park at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 4. The entire Fourth of July event is free to the public.

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