13 Musical Groups Lined up to Entertain Througout the Day

(Sally Hogarty, Photographer)
First formed over 50 years ago, the East Bay Banjo Band always lends a cheerful twang to the best hometown parade.

    Whether it’s hot jazz, an old-fashioned fiddle band or patriotic anthems that move you, the Fourth of July parade has it all and then some. 
    Thirteen musical groups will display their myriad talents before, during and after the parade, which begins at 10 a.m. in front of the Wells Fargo Bank on the Theatre District of Orinda.
    Lewiston Jazz, a Berkeley-based instrumental quintet, starts things off before the parade on the Village District with jazz melodies, modal harmonies and funk grooves. On the Theatre side, the impressive young musicians in the EFO (Educational Foundation of Orinda) Big Band will entertain with big-band favorites in front of the Orinda Theatre.
    The traditional call of the bagpipes signals the start of the parade thanks to Jonas Pauliukonis and his band of bagpipers and drums. Interspersed between the floats and classic cars, the wide-ranging musical entertainment continues including the popular MJ’s Brass Boppers. The New Orleans-style band often is accompanied by the incredible Polly Pepper Stilt Walkers.
    The Saints, St. Gabriel’s Celestial Brass Band that is, will also energize parade-goers with their authentic New Orleans traditional jazz. Billed as the only authentic New Orleans Traditional Jazz Funeral and Mardi Gras Marching Band west of New Orleans, these feisty musicians play a variety of Zydeco, gospel, soul, blues, jazz and even country. Also playing New Orleans-style music is the Spirit of 29, which specializes in 1920’s and ‘30’s jazz popularized by Louis Armstrong.
    For those who enjoy a more traditional marching band, the award-winning Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps will display their marching precision and spirited musical renditions accompanied by their delightful tall flags’ unit executing intricate dance maneuvers. 
    The always popular Orinda All-Volunteer Pick Up Marching Band will play early in the parade and again at the end when these dedicated volunteers appropriately conclude the parade with anthems from the various armed forces. 
    The abundance of young talent in the area will be evident as three local groups return to the parade. Under the leadership of James Fiatarone, the students of ALMA will share their prodigious talents as well as the young people from the Peter Pan Foundation. Dedicated to inspiring children of all ages to reach their full potential, the foundation will have a number of its members in theatrical costumes performing songs from hit musicals. Also marching are the Lamorinda Idol singers.
    The East Bay Banjo Band has been a staple in the Orinda parade for many years, and this year is no exception. Dedicated to playing “happy” banjo music, the group has been around for more than 50 years.  
    Following the parade, you can get your groove on and pump up the heat with 3 Day Weekend in the Orinda Community Center Park. The 10-member party band will continue the Fourth of July celebration with a high energy mix of Motown, Funk, R&B and classic rock from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The band features musicians from the East Bay and San Francisco including vocalist and Orinda resident Ali Wegener. 
    “It’s always special performing in our local park on the Fourth of July,” says Wegener, who has lived in Orinda for 17 years. “It’s such a wonderful community and a great place to raise a family. It’s so beautiful here and the people are awesome.”
    According to Wegener, audiences can expect to hear the rocking melodies of Chicago, the Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, The B52s and much more.
    “We play lots of great music that is fun to dance to. We’ve got singers, a horn section, full rhythm and we have fun,” says Wegener.
    For more information, call The Orinda Association at 925-254-0800 or go online to www.orindaassociation.org or www.orindaparade.com.

(Sally Hogarty, Photographer)
The Blue Devils Color Guard will return to the parade again this year, twirling their flags to the rhythm of the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps.

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