Free musical concerts will be held in Alabama's Gordon Persons Building and the state capitol building each Thursday in February and March.

What a way to spend your lunchtime in Montgomery during the legislative session or for any reason.

No ticket or RSVP is needed. Attire for attendees is mixed but mostly "winter touristy."

Each concert is performed by students from an Alabama public school.

On any given Thursday this February and March, you can go to the Gordon Persons Building by 11 a.m. or to the state capitol building by noon. The same performers play twice each Thursday, so you only need to go once each Thursday.

The Thursday 11 a.m. performances are popular with employees and visitors of the State Department of Education, headquartered in the Gordon Persons Building at 50 N. Ripley Street, Montgomery. The vestibule near the center of the giant building is the musical setting.

Two blocks away, the Thursday noon performances are popular with state employees and visitors in the capitol building. The rotunda in the center of the capitol is the musical setting. Attendees can experience the concert from above on the round balcony overlooking the second-floor rotunda. It is just outside the historic House and Senate chambers, which were used by the legislature for 160 years. Or the public can stand right beside the performers on the rotunda floor, as close to the musicians as you can be without playing yourself.

The performing groups are vocal or instrumental or a combination.

The 2024 season of Capitol Tunes offers these Thursday concerts:

February 1: Shelby County High School ‘Cardinal Sound’

February 8: Grissom High Chamber Choir. Huntsville.

February 15: Baldwin Acapella Choir. Baldwin Arts and Academics Magnet School

February 22: Smith Station High Flute Ensemble

February 29: Foley High School Trombone Choir

March 7: Titan Chorale. Gadsden City High

March 14: Saraland High Singers

March 21: Gardendale High Chamber Choir

March 28: Tuscaloosa Fine Arts Academy Singers

Capitol Tunes is a collaborative project of the Alabama State Department of Education, the Alabama Music Educators Association, and the Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts.

Photos, videos and recordings of the concerts are encouraged.

Legislators from each local area often attend and support the music students and teachers from their districts. State officials often come out of their offices and watch the performances.

State Board of Education member Jackie Zeigler of Mobile said: "Capitol Tours is one of my very favorite events to attend! The talent of our students across this great state will bring tears to your eyes!"

Many of the high school students who perform in the Capitol Tour Concerts show up a couple of years later with a music scholarship and playing in:

The Million Dollar Band of the University of Alabama

The Auburn University Marching Band

The Marching Southerners of Jacksonville State University

Sound of the South Band of Troy University

Samford University Marching Bulldogs

Marching Hornets of Alabama State University

Tornadoes of Talladega University

Marching Crimson Pipers of Tuskegee University

Jaguar Marching Band of University of South Alabama

UAB Marching Blazers

Marching Scarlet and Grey of Huntingdon College

Marching Pride of North Alabama

Marching Maroon and White Band of Alabama A & M

The Miss Alabama competition

America’s Got Talent

American Idol

At Capitol Tunes, you can see, hear and feel the future of music in Alabama.

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].

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