Midcoast Community Band honors Shepardson

Band remembers one of its own

Sep 10, 2013
Midcoast Community Band’s famed All-Girl Percussion Section featured, from left, Betty Bilodeau, the late Juni Shepardson, Jenny Tung and Lynn Lackoff.

Tenants Harbor — On Sunday, Sept. 22, at 3 p.m., the walls of the downtown Odd Fellows Hall will ring with the music of the Midcoast Community Band, celebrating the change of seasons in Maine, the music of American composers and the life of longtime band member Junille “Juni” Shepardson, who died suddenly Sept. 7.

Shepardson had been a member of the band for many years, first joining the group in the 1990s and, after a break of a few years, rejoining to become the backbone of the percussion section on snare drum. She and the other percussion section members often quipped that they were the All-Girl Percussion Section.

Band Director Jo Anne Parker has chosen a program of All-American music — everything from pop tunes to Big Band swing numbers to special tributes — for the last concert of the season before the band prepares for the Christmas season. The opener for the concert will be “Tribute to Irving Berlin,” a setting by Warren Barker highlighting 14 of Berlin’s hit songs. “Freedom Tower Sketches,” although written in 1993 by Robert Longfield, will be a tribute to the completion of the Freedom Tower in New York City in 2013. The Big Band era will be represented by Glenn Miller’s “Pennsylvania 6-5000” and Duke Ellington’s “Do Nothin’ 'Till You Hear from Me,” featuring alto sax player Ed Pessara. Two John Williams medleys will pay tribute to the composers many works.

The second half of the program will open with Maine’s “Stein Song,” continue with “America” and then turn to the era of the Civil War with a medley titled “The Blue and the Gray.” Appalachian folk song “He’s Gone Away” reflects the heartache felt by the families of soldiers as they left to fight in the Civil War. In this 150th anniversary year of the Battle of Gettysburg, the band will play Michael Sweeney’s dramatic arrangement “High Water Mark: The Third Day,” commemorating the bloody battle that took place July 3, 1863. The concert will close with “Rhapsody Americana,” a John Higgins arrangement celebrating our nation’s musical heritage and portraying a vivid musical chronicle of America.

Donations for the Midcoast Community will be graciously received in Shepardson’s memory after the concert. Copies of the bands pictorial history book  “… And the Band Plays On: 25 Years with the Midcoast Community Band” also will be available for $19.95. Shepardson; band members Betty Bilodeau and Joe Anderson; and Parker collaborated on this book two years ago as a fundraiser for the band. For more information, contact Parker at 372-6737.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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