"...And the Band Plays On"--25 years of Music with the Midcoast Community Band
Midcoast Community Band is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. This video was taken by cousin Mary Sue Weeks in Warren this August. If you haven’t attended a concert by this dedicated community band, you are missing out on some terrific music. (See video on the regular blog space: www.southendstories.blogspot.com)
Formed in 1986, Midcoast Community Band (MCCB) has entertained at many events in the area. They perform mostly in the summer but also have a Christmas Concert.
Many of the members are professionals. Some are music teachers, while some participate in other bands. It’s a family affair as many members of the same family have belonged from time to time, including mine. Brother Harlan and his wife, Kay Sylvester have played saxophone. Kay still plays with the band. Their daughters, Brenda and Bette also have played. Brenda still does when she gets the chance on home visits. Great-nephews, Matthew, Jake and Brian Sylvester have played, as well as niece Kim Tavares Ruddy.
The venues for MCCB have included parades as well as festivals like the Lobster Festival and Union Fair. When the director of the band, Jo Anne Parker, gets a phone call from someone wanting the band’s participation at their event, she gathers the band members up; selects a program; and sets up rehearsals. She’s very proud that her members are able to perform any music she throws at them.
What makes this band unique and at the same time challenging for Jo Anne is that the membership is always changing. While some members remain year after year, Jo Anne is always looking to the future and recruits young people whenever she can. Some of the youngsters come from the music teachers in the group as well as from area schools. When the band shows up for an event, Jo Anne never knows for sure who will be there. Many times she has to adjust the program accordingly so that the audience will always get a superb performance. I’ve never heard a bad concert yet and I’ve seen many of them over the years.
This year MCCB celebrates its 25th anniversary with a book about their history called “…And the Band Plays On.” Proceeds from the sale of the book will be used for the upkeep of their flatbed which is used in parades. Along with money gained from passing the hat at concerts, book sales will greatly help the organization. Please pick up a copy from any band member and help support this terrific group of musicians in our midst, Midcoast Community Band. May they have many more years of success.