Despite the soggy ground, the weather was more cooperative than last year as Alvinites turned out at Briscoe Park for the annual 4th of July celebration.
The crowd watched as 139 cases (“cakes” in fireworks jargon) shot into the air from a base just east of the Briscoe Park fishing pond.
“I get the chills every time I see it, man, because it’s just the music is great, the fireworks are great,” Dan Kelinske, director of Alvin Parks & Recreation, said.
Returning this year, after an absence last year due to weather, was the Alvin Community Band. Formed in 1994 and made up of members of the community ranging in ages from 13 to 88, the band has provided live lead-in music for the fireworks for years.
Kelinske said band director David Griffith always does a great job.
“The band is fantastic, but he likes to end on a real high note so he always has some dynamic song prepared and then he ends on it and then we go right into the fireworks,” Kelinske said.
This year, the band played music from Star Trek and other popular music before finishing with God Bless America and Stars and Stripes Forever just before the fireworks began. Members ranged from octogenarians who have been with the band since the 1990s to those participating in their first performance.
Fifteen-year-old oboe player Jody Taller of Dickinson has been a member of the band for only six months, making this her first 4th of July performance.
“I can’t wait, it’s going to be really fun,” Taller said.
The band had only one month to rehearse for Thursday’s performance after finishing its most recent performance at the Alvin Community College graduation ceremony.
“There was a lot of crunch time. I mean, we’re playing 22 songs, so it’s a lot of just like, ‘We’ll play this once and hope it’s fine,’” Taller said.
Taller’s father, Mike Taller, joined the band just one month (four rehearsals) prior to the performance, picking up his tenor saxophone after a 20-year gap since attending Purdue University.
“It’s like riding a bike; you never forget. You know, I might be a little rusty but my — my fingers seem to remember,” Mike said.
As always, the evening’s festivities ended with the 15-minute fireworks display after nightfall that everyone, young and old, waits for. Mike Ralph and Gage Stevens, working for Illumination Fireworks, returned to again prepare the fireworks the city bought from the company.