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Community Band gears up for show to support high school music

Date: 8/18/2009

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW Residents are invited to audibly tour the world on Tuesday evening as the East Longmeadow Community Band puts on their second concert.

The beat of African drums, the lilt of Irish tunes, a Spanish march, Jewish and Cajun folk songs, classics from George Gershwin and a finale featuring the music of rock legends Queen will all be performed by instrumentalists ranging in age from current high school students to those in their early sixties.

"The theme is an eclectic blend of cultures worldwide," Jay Whitbeck, musical director and conductor of the band, said. "The content is extremely ambitious for a group of mixed talent, but I like to bring out the best in people."

This is the second year of the East Longmeadow Community Band, which Whitbeck and Jim Moriarty started so that those who played music would have a venue to do so in the summertime. Whitbeck, who plays tuba and bass, said that the band is "an opportunity to play more challenging music and to play with all different levels of age and experience."

The band is based out of the high school, and Whitbeck thanked James P. Kiernan, head of the high school's music department, and Richard Freccero, principal, for letting the band use the facilities and borrow some instruments.

The concerts the band puts on benefit the music program at the high school. Last year's concert brought in more than $700.

Whitbeck is excited about this summer's show. The Community Band meets once a week starting at the end of June to rehearse and then performs in August and he believes that this year's concert will be a step above last year's.

"There's definitely something for everyone," Whitbeck said.

The East Longmeadow Community Band's summer show will be taking place Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. in the East Longmeadow High School auditorium, and is open to the public. Concessions will be sold by the Friends of Music. Admission to the concert is $5, and all proceeds from the evening will benefit the high school's music program.