Municipal Band

Joe Watson conducts the Paris Municipal Band on Friday night at Bywaters Park.

Paris Municipal Band members fine-tuned their instruments before taking the stage Friday night, gentle notes floating on the summer breeze above Bywaters Park. As the sun set, a crowd gathered in front of the peristyle stage, ready for the band’s second performance of the season.

The Paris Municipal Band begins each concert with “The Star Spangled Banner” and closes with “I Love Paris” by Cole Porter. Friday’s set list included “The Black Horse Troop March” by John Philip Sousa; “You’re a Grand Old Flag” by George M. Cohan; “American Folk Fantasy” by John Edmondson; “A Country Lullaby” by Jeremy Bell; “Jesus Loves Me” by Anna Bartlett Warner; “Monterey March” by K. L. King; “Loch Lomond,” a traditional Scottish folk song; “Rocky Top” by Boudleaux and Felice Bryant; “Alhambra Grotto March” by K. L. King; highlights from “The Sound of Music”; and the “Game of Thrones” theme.

Joe Watson, the band’s director, said the band has 65 members this year, including high school students from Paris, North Lamar, Chisum, Prairiland and Rivercrest ISDs, and adults from Bonham and De Kalb and Hugo, Oklahoma, who drive in for rehearsals and concerts.

“The band reads well, and I attribute their reading to their teachers locally,” Watson said. “I thought we had a nice concert. I enjoyed it, I hope the audience enjoyed our variety tonight, and next week on Friday we’ll have a completely different concert.”

Audience members Lewis and Carole Anderson said they come to the concerts frequently and always enjoy the performances. Their daughter, Michelle, plays flute for the band.

“When the weather’s nice, I just enjoy being out and hearing the music and the band,” Carole Anderson said. “I am partial to ‘The Sound of Music’ songs.”

Watson said he enjoys performing all types of songs.

“I like lots of them. I like the traditional marches, I like the hymns, I like pop music,” he said. “Right now we’re playing something that’s pretty difficult to play, it’s called ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ the music from the motion picture. It’s one of my favorites.”

The band’s summer season will continue on Fridays through June and on July 3 and 12 at Bywaters Park, 300 S. Main St. The performances start at 8:30 p.m. and are free to the public. If the weather is bad, performances will be moved to the pavilion by Love Civic Center, 2025 S. Collegiate Drive.

Macon Atkinson is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6963 or

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