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BEST BET

May 09, 1993|MARY HELEN BERG

The United States Coast Guard Band, a group that bears the personal mark of march maestro John Philip Sousa, will return to the South Bay to present free concerts at 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday in the Torrance Cultural Arts Center.

Sousa had already conducted the Marine Corps Band and made his name as a civilian music director when he was asked to help form the Coast Guard Band in 1925, said Ralph Thorp, chief musician for the band.

"I think when people think of bands they just think of Sousa, and that's OK," Thorp said. "A group of people helped to draw up the instrumentation for the (Coast Guard) band and decide how it should be run, and one of those people was Sousa."

The 45-member band, directed by Cmdr. Lewis J. Buckley, will present a 1 1/2-hour program featuring marches, show tunes and light classics. The numbers range from the marches of Sousa to the swing of Jimmy Dorsey.

The second half of the program will be dedicated to the World War II era, featuring the big band sound of the Masters of Swing, an ensemble within the band that specializes in numbers made famous by the Glenn Miller Band, the Andrews Sisters and other music stars of the 1930s and 1940s.

Yeoman Yvonne Daniel will join the Masters as featured vocalist, bringing back popular tunes such as "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" and "Chattanooga Choo Choo."

The band, which has previously appeared in the Torrance Armed Forces Day parade, is the "premier service band" for the U.S. Coast Guard, Thorp said.

All complimentary tickets for the two concerts have been distributed, but some seating may be available 10 minutes before the concerts.

The Cultural Arts Center is at 3330 Civic Center Drive. Information: (310) 781-7171.

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