For the 64th consecutive summer, the Corpus Christi Municipal Band is hosting a series of free summer concerts that kicked off the season on June 7. The first performance was scheduled at the outdoor amphitheater at the expanded Fine Arts Music Building on the Del Mar College East Campus.

The band’s free concert began at 8:30 P.M. with Abel Saldivar Ramirez, a Del Mar College associate professor of music, serving as conductor. Concertgoers can bring lawn chairs and blankets and sit on the grass in front of the stage.

In addition to providing the venue for this performance, Del Mar College supports the Municipal Band by providing rehearsal space, equipment and logistical support.

The opening concert was the first of the 2015 season. Free performances will continue every Sunday at 8:30 P.M. through July 19.

Additional information on performances is posted on the Municipal Band’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ccmunicipalband

The Municipal Band moved to the new East Campus amphitheater in 2014 after hosting the inaugural performance at the new venue last June 15. In previous seasons, the band performed at Cole Park and Heritage Park.

Del Mar College expanded its music building in 2013, and part of the construction involved shaping the open area adjacent to the complex into an amphitheater. Performers can now host events on the building’s extended foundation that doubles as a stage underneath the second floor glass façade – the building’s signature feature.

"The amphitheater sets up a place for performances both planned and impromptu,” said Cynthia Bridges, chair of the College’s Department of Music.

When the Municipal Band played its first concert in 1959, all the band’s musicians were members of the local chapter of the American Federation of Musicians. The AFM funded the concerts with its Music Performance Trust Fund established by the national AFM and the recording industry as a hedge against the threat of recorded music taking away live musicians’ livelihoods. Under the leadership of the AFM’s powerful national president James Petrillo, union membership thrived in the 1940s and 1950s with more than 400 members in the Corpus Christi chapter alone.

Today, most musicians are volunteers. The band accepted volunteer musicians into the group beginning in the mid-1950s.