Human Interest

With July 4 less than a week afterward, timing for the city of Sedona’s next concert performance is fitting.

The Posse Grounds Pavilion at Barbara Antonsen Memorial Park will be the site of a free concert featuring music of the Air National Guard Band of the Southwest. The event is set for Wednesday, June 28, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The 39-member professional military band is based in Fort Worth, Texas, and is led by commander and conductor Lt. Col. Eric Patterson. The band covers a seven-state region of the Southwest and has performed for audiences around the world.

All of the musicians are citizen airmen, serving one weekend a month and two weeks each year in the Air National Guard.

This group contacted Parks and Recreation Manager Rachel Murdoch to see if the city would be interested in hosting one of its concerts. With little hesitation she said yes.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “All of those instruments — we haven’t had a performance like that. I am excited to hear them play in our new venue.”

She said according to the group the type of music they play is a mix of patriotic music, traditional military marches, familiar pop songs, Americana and wind band standards.

“I’m sure because of the date, they will be a little heavier on the patriotic music,” she said. “That would be fine with me. Get everyone excited for the 4th of July.”

Murdoch was asked now that the city has a venue for it, does she anticipate it hosting larger events like this one.

“Larger — no,” she said. “I like that we have quality programs that attract just the right amount of people. Our Spring Concert Series was quite successful and I think that is because it was during the week, thereby catering just to our community members.”

She added that if the city began having larger events on the weekends, there is the potential to have to monitor the venue in order to keep the attendance level at or below the 300 person mark.

“So I don’t need larger, I just need appropriate,” Murdoch said. “I would like to see the venue being used on a regular basis. We do get calls asking, ‘So what’s next at the pavilion?’ People seem to be expecting a calendar of events just for that venue.

“I understand that, but a calendar would depend on outside organizations wanting to come forward and rent the facility. The city is not funding ongoing programming at the pavilion to fill an entire calendar.”

Mayor Sandy Moriarty and Vice Mayor John Martinez have been invited to be guest conductors for one song apiece. Both said they’re looking forward to fulfilling childhood dreams but neither know which song they will be conducting.

“Although my musical background is limited at best, I took violin and piano lessons when I was in junior high school and played second violin in the school orchestra,” Moriarty said. “So this is a bit of a bucket list item for me, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Like Moriarty, Martinez was in the school band in junior high, high school and college. While an underclassmen in high school, he tried out to be the band’s conductor. Alas, it went to someone else.

“This is an honor and a dream come true for me — more than 50 years in the making,” he said. “Rachel [Murdoch] told me not to be nervous and to just stand up there and wave my arms. I’m just excited to finally conduct a band. It’s better late than never.”

Posse Grounds Pavilion has festival-style seating, so bring a chair or blanket to sit. A food truck will be on hand to purchase food. Parking is available in the park’s main lot, and space is limited to 300 guests at the concert. For more information, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 282-7098 or visit


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