Community bands' show set for May 2
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Making beautiful music is the intent of four bands from the four corners of Western Pennsylvania, which performed their first concert together on April 4, 2004. They're still at it, and this year's event May 2 in Upper St. Clair High School promises more of the same, as a fifth band will be on hand as well.
"It had been one of my dreams to get these wonderful community groups together and showcase their wonderful work," said Roger Schneider, who plays the baritone horn and is one of the founders of the East Winds Symphonic Band.
The event will feature East Winds, Community Band South, North Suburban Symphonic Band and West Hills Symphonic Band.
There also will be a performance by the 70-musician "Festival Band," featuring a members from the four individual groups as well as others from community bands.
Curtain is at 2:30 p.m -- doors open at 1:45 -- with Jim Cunningham of WQED as master of ceremonies and Robert Morris University director of bands Elisabeth Heath-Charles serving as guest conductor. The latter is a Mt. Lebanon resident who also serves as music director and conductor of the Butler County Symphony Orchestra.
Although there is no admission charge for the event, which is scheduled to be in the USC High School auditorium, donations will be accepted.
Light refreshments will be served afterward, with a chance to meet the musicians.
The festival of bands got its start in 2002, when Mr. Schneider was the recipient of a WQED-Dominion Volunteer In The Arts award. This carried a $500 prize, which he used as seed money for arranging a concert.
Each of the individual bands is a veteran of the concert circuit. In the case of Community Band South, co-directors Dean Streator and James Bennett are retired from the music departments of the Bethel Park and Upper St. Clair school districts.
The South band performs an average of 15 shows a year. It features brass, woodwind and percussion played by more than 80 musicians.
East Winds Symphonic Band has been around since 1981, starting with 24 members and now featuring 60. Conducted by Susan Sands since 1990, this band includes symphonic classics and show tunes.
Carl T. Iezzi conducts the 70-member North Suburban Symphonic Band, which was founded in 1992. It performs four concerts each year on Sunday afternoons in the Greater Pittsburgh Masonic Center in McCandless.
The West Hills Symphonic Band has been conducted by Anthony DiIanni since 1998, although it was founded in 1967 by Joseph Picchi.
Over the years, the band, which ranges from 55 to 70 members, has performed more than 170 concerts with a repertoire that includes Big Band, symphonic, marches and show tunes.
Each band will perform for approximately 20 minutes, Mr. Schneider said. The "festival band" will probably perform four or five numbers.
For more information, go to ttp://www.ewsb.org/festival.
First Published April 23, 2009 6:31 am