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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001025.txt from 2000/04

From: George Kidder <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Community Bands...
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 22:00:41 -0400

At 09:10 PM 04/23/2000 -0400, you wrote:
>..... the Williamsport
>Repasz band which is the oldest non-military band in continuous existance....

How old is that? (I presume you mean "in the US", as I"d bet some of the
European bands are ancient, by our standards.) The Bar Harbor Town Band
had been INCORPORATED for 100 years as of summer before last, but no one
seems to know how long it had been around before that. It has played every
year except during WWII.

Seat placement is governed by --> TRADITION <--. (You add the musical
inflection.) Among the clarinets, there were two long-time (say 20 years
at least) regulars - one plays first chair first, and the other plays
first-chair second. When I joined (5 years ago) I got put as second-chair
first (by the director, a retired school band director) and have been there
since, except when by seat-mate had cataract surgery problems and was told
he couldn't blow for last season, and then I played first chair. I presume
I will go back when the "real" first chair comes back this summer. When
the director's daughter comes for vacation, she plays with the band, and
sits second chair first, so I move over. Etc. I presume most of the other
sections have similar traditions. No one takes seat placement too

Band member's ages range from 85 or so down to early high school or maybe
younger. Most of the members of the BHTB have been playing with it since
they were in high school, which was often 25 or more years ago. They don't
often come to practices (all of which are before the concert season starts,
not during the season) as they all know the music - often the very pieces
of paper are the same. One medley is printed "from the new musical
Carousel", and some of the march books are scorched on the edges from the
fire that burned out the Boy Scout building where the music was stored.
(This wasn't the "Great Fire" of 1947, but a later smaller one.)

Not great music, but passable, and good community fun. We often get told
by some grandparent supervising small children running around the bandstand
that this is what they (the grandparents) remember doing when they were
young. In this country where so many of us have few roots, its nice to see
some who are well-anchored. For many, the Band is part of that anchor.
George Kidder

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