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Strike up the band(s), it's Memorial Day weekend

Strike up the band(s), it's Memorial Day weekend

László Veres loves Memorial Day weekend.

It's the one time during his twin spring concert series that he gets to channel his inner John Philip Sousa, from donning the classic 19th century band-leader's uniform to playing the classic patriotic Sousa marches.

If you've never experienced it, it's something to see: Veres seems to transport his musical soul to another time when marching bands pounded the pavement of small town America with eager kids running alongside and proud citizens standing hands over hearts on the sidewalks watching the band march on.

On Saturday, May 27, Veres and his volunteer Arizona Symphonic Winds won't be marching, but there will surely be kids jumping up and down and marching in place on the sprawling lawn in front of the László Veres Amphitheater at Udall Park, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road. Veres and the Winds will perform a jazzy arrangement of Sousa marches titled “Sousa March Carnival" as well as his “Stars and Stripes Forever” march. The program also includes selections from Hollywood ("Star Wars" and "South Pacific") and Arturo Márquez's Danzon No. 2.

On Sunday, May 28, Veres will don the same outfit when he leads the professional Tucson Pops Orchestra in "John Philip Sousa In the Park" at Reid Park's DeMeester Outdoor Pavilion, East 22nd Street and South Country Club Road. The concert opens with Sousa's "Black Horse Troop" March and includes his "Presidential Polonaise," Egner's Official West Point March and John Williams' "The Empire Strikes Back" medley.

Both concerts get started at 7 p.m. and admission is free; donations are welcome at both.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch

Cathalena has covered music for the Star for the past 20 years. She's a graduate of Arizona State University has worked at Sedona Red Rock News, Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, New York; and USA Today.

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