Mahoosuc Band 20th anniversary concert

Mahoosuc Community Band is 20 years old and is celebrating with a summer concert Aug. 11, 7 p.m. at West Parish Congregational Church in Bethel. Ellen Whitney and Brian Dunham, current president, are two members of the original band who are still playing trombone and trumpet.

The band, initially called Mahoosuc Music Makers, started in 1994 when Ellen Whitney and Rhonda Buker noticed the lack of a local band in the area for Memorial Day activities. Telstar Regional High School had dropped the music program due to budget cuts and Whitney, Buker and Brian Dunham and several others felt the lack of music in the region. Initially instruments and music were used from the former school program so adults could gather to have fun and play music. A group of about 12 people started meeting in June of that year trying to figure out ways to get a hold of the Telstar music, find a director and start rehearsals with a goal of being in the Mollyockett Day Parade that very year. The first director was Jonathan Smith. Another past director was the late Ernie Downs, and currently Patricia Boyle-Wight. Members come from Bethel, Dixfield, Hanover, Woodstock, Greenwood, Berlin, N.H., and Waterford. All ages are welcome, from those in middle school or high school through more senior citizens. The band is now called the Mahoosuc Community Band and rehearsals are Monday nights from 7 to 8:45 in the basement of West Parish Congregational Church in Bethel.

Tom Davis, retired Director of Music at Wallace Memorial Presbyterian Church, wrote and arranged The Wallace March to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Mahoosuc Community Band. He first wrote this music as a hymn in 2005 for the church to help remembering their new Mission Statement. The church had just created a new mission statement, and I wanted to give them a way to remember it. Davis added instrumental parts each time they sang it until it became almost fully orchestrated. Davis re-wrote the song as a march for the Mahoosuc Community Band.

Songs for this concert include Trombone Tiger Rag arranged by Chris Sharp, Fairest of the Fair by John Phillips Sousa, The Ludlows arranged by Sean O’Loughlin featuring Liz Smith on the piano, Fiddle-Faddle by Leroy Anderson featuring Scott Hynek on the marimba, Saint Louis Blues arranged by Jerry Nowak, In the Shining of the Stars by Robert Sheldon, Battle Hymn of the Republic, Broadway Journey arranged by James Christensen, The Girl I Left Behind Me arranged by Leroy Anderson, The Muppet Show theme by Jim Henson and arranged by Paul Murtha. Student conductors Simon Smith and Samantha Tibbetts will each direct two numbers.

The concert is Monday, Aug. 11, at 7 p.m. and all are welcome. Donations accepted at the door to defray the cost of music and the director. Refreshments will be served following the concert. The band has put together photos of performances throughout the years. Please come and celebrate with the band and enjoy a great evening of music.

Brian and Ellen

Original band members Ellen Whitney and Brian Dunham still enjoy playing music with Mahoosuc Community Band. The upcoming concert is Monday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. at West Parish Congregational Church.

All ages are welcome, from those in middle school or high school through more senior citizens. Rehearsals are Monday nights from 7 to 8:45 in the basement of West Parish Congregational Church in Bethel. For more information contact president, Brian Dunham at velvet_hollow_sugar_hollow@yahoo.com or director, Patricia Boyle-Wight at pboylewight@ants.edu